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AS and A Level: Ian McEwan

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  1. Marked by a teacher

    An essay that examines whether Briony ever achieves atonement in 'Atonement' by Ian McEwan

    3 star(s)

    At the beginning of the novel Briony is a girl of thirteen her mind filled with romantic stories containing morally certain scenarios; she views the world around her through the same filters and is over-confident in her ability to judge events. When she observes a strange interaction between her sister, Cecilia, and Robbie, the cleaning lady's son, she misinterprets the situation as threatening for her sister. This impression is reinforced when she later interrupts them in the secluded library having an amorous embrace, which she construes as an assault.

    • Word count: 2142
  2. Discuss how McEwan uses the setting in part one of "Atonement".

    A reason for Cecilia's pessimistic description could be her frustration of being kept here and frustrated about her own laziness to make something of her life as she has just left university with and poor grade and no degree. Cilicia also views that if the unpleasant features where ignored 'the view was fine enough', McEwan may has used this to communicate Cecilia is trying to avoid obstacles in her life. Some of the obstacles is procrastinating in her life such as a childhood friend Robbie, it says that she 'avoided Robbie by hurrying round to the front of the house' this communicates nervousness around this character and foreshadows that she is avoiding confrontations of her new feels from him.

    • Word count: 2393
  3. What view would a feminist critic take on "Enduring Love" by Ian McEwan?

    McEwan portrays the science and rationality through Joe ? a science journalist, who strips the events apart, layer by layer, as if he was a surgeon and then re-stitches it to provide the final outcome; once again placing the male figure in the dominant position, whereby he narrates and leads the novel, ?let me freeze the frame? almost having an omniscient power as he self-consciously controls the narrative. This shows, according to Lacan, that men control the power of speech and language that dominates society, whereas women are shown to revel in non-verbal communication, a common preconception which is opposed strongly by feminists.

    • Word count: 2127

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Compare two passages of your choice explaining what they reveal of McEwen's reoccurring themes and concerns?

    "In conclusion I would have to say that Ian McEwen does use a lot of the same themes and techniques in his writing and varies the amount he uses them in each story e.g. in the story where he uses a lot of science imagery there is a less religious imagery and also the opposite where there was more religious imagery McEwen added less science. Techniques like using short sentences and lots of punctuation was used to raise tension and anticipation in both extracts as well as in Enduring Love."

  • Discuss how McEwan uses the setting in part one of "Atonement".

    "The setting used in part one was used constructively to build depth into the novel. I find the use of setting makes it very much a more interesting read as I can see more depth into the story every time I read it. There are parts about the set which I didn't realise meant anything until I had re-read and studied the book. McEwan use of the setting makes the significance of the events more meaningful. As all the events that happen are set in a symbolic to that situation and the setting mirrors the meanings of the characters and the events."

  • Enduring Love by Ian McEwan essay. Compare the narrative of Appendix 1 with Appendix 2.

    "Appendix 1 is written in a report form, McEwan has chosen this aspect of narrative to take on a role of a report for a psychiatric journal, in this case Jed Parry. This choice of narrative technique reflects McEwan's character as Joe is a science writer and this report is in a logical format. It explains the science behind Jed's condition creating sympathy for him which the reader had not held when Parry's victim was narrating. The opening line of Appendix 1; 'Reprinted from the British Review of Psychiatry', immediately informs the reader of the form. 'British Review of Psychiatry' indicates to the reader that what they are about to read is a review on a particular subject and sets the reader for clear information on the syndrome. By portraying the key information about Parry's condition in a report format leaves a lasting effect on the audience and bring McEwan's story to life. Appendix 1 is structured as a typical report and is set into five categories; 'Introduction, Case History, Discussion, Conclusion and"

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