Chapter 11 Enduring Love

Summary, themes, form, structure and language notes 

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  • Created on: 24-03-13 16:51
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How does McEwan tell the story in Chapter 11?
Summary
Begins in letter form ­ This is from Jed's viewpoint: He talks of the love he feels for Joe and also informs
that the day they met in the field has bound them together. His love seems to have grown stronger,
connecting their interaction to God's path. Jed continually explains his love in full depth and even
apologises to him for not recognising their love immediately like Joe apparently had, displaying he is
completely delusional. We can recognise that this won't be Jed's first or last letter. Jed also claims that
Joe is completely aware of their love and was waiting for him the whole time ­ The reader, already
knowing that Jed must have a mental illness of some sort begins to empathise with him. Although the
reader cannot fully understand his disorder, they are able sympathise with him ­ which Joe lacks.Jed
also talks of his house and tries to persuade Joe to move in with him, describing his house as a haven
and reminding him constantly of his love and devotion to Joe.
Themes
Religion `I praise God that he has sent me to you' (page 93)
Obsession `I covered five sheets of paper with your name' (page 97)
Love `Blessedness of love' (page 93)
Happiness `greater joy' (page 93)
Guilt `I know I owe you an apology' (page 93)
Forgiveness `Joe, in the name of God, please forgive me' (page 94)
Nature `The rain has stopped, the birds have taken up their songs again and the air is even
brighter' (page 98)
Form
Like chapter 9, chapter 11 contains a frame narrative.
First person narrative.
In the form of a letter ­ Different from the reported speech of Jed as this is proof of his delusion.
Emulation of Joe's writing style, using the sematic field of science, `electric current' (p93)
The form of Jed's letter is written in detail and flows from one paragraph to the next.
Not in the narrative of Joe, this is a change from the rest of the novel which is written through the
eyes of Joe.
Simplistic writing form, without the narration including scientific facts and theories ­ Explores
the concept of religion and not science.
Structure:
Throughout this Chapter McEwan uses long and descriptive sentences followed quickly by short
and punctual lines, which highlights both Jed's obsession and his need to reassure himself that
his love is met equally by Joe.
'I stand before you naked, defenceless, dependent on your mercy, begging your forgiveness.
For you knew our love from the very beginning'. (Pg 93)
Although this Chapter is supposed to take the form of a letter, at several times Jed breaks from
the conventions of a letter and can be seen to be talking to himself, similarly to the way in which
we may imagine someone with a mental disorder to. This suggests that Jed's obsession is
growing to an extremely unhealthy level, at which he is no longer able to be rational in his
actions, subsequently foreshadowing future events.
'What an Idiot!' (Pg 94)
Jed's heavily descriptive tone throughout the letter further shows that he is becoming completely
dependent on Joe, and that even when writing the letter he feels like Joe is with him.

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I'm sitting at a small wooden table on a covered balcony that extends from the study and looks
out over the inner courtyard' (Pg 95)
'But let me go back to the ocean surface' (Pg 96)
Language:
Internal monologue, as if having a conversation with himself totally absorbed in his own
narrative. Examples: `Did you sleep last night? I don't think so.…read more

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