Chapter 12 Enduring Love

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How does McEwan tell the story in Chapter 12?
Summary
Joe's sense of failure in science has not left him. In order to try and escape from this, he drives
into Oxford to see John Logan's widow, Jean. In a flashback he recounts his conversation with
Clarissa at breakfast regarding Jed's letter. From the conversation the reader identifies that the
pair have different views in terms of Jed's behaviour and begin to see their relationship slowly
starting to deteriorate. Joe acknowledges that `their remained between us an unarticulated
dispute'. Joe begins to suspect that Clarissa is having an affair and regretting her life with him.
He soon finds himself in her study, going through her stuff searching for evidence. After returning
briefly back to the journey, there is a brief flash forward to Clarissa's return home that night and
the arrival of a letter the following morning, `the death of an innocent dream' suggesting `to
continue with the very successful career you already have'. Joe then returns back to the journey
narrative, approaching Jean Logan's house he begins to realise his true motives for the visits, `I
had come to explain, to establish my guiltlessness, my innocence of his death.'
Themes
Trust Regarding the relationship between Joe and Clarissa. Clarissa has growing doubts
about the truthfulness of Joe's story which creates a lack of communication between them. Joe
tells us "I had not had much better luck with Clarissa. It was true we were talking, we were
affable". The use of the adjective 'affable' signals to the reader that they are not as close as you
would normally expect a married couple to be, which develops mainly because of this lack of
trust. Joe also describes Clarissa as having "seemed to agree with me" 'Seemed' implies that
Joe no longer trusts Clarissa fully either.
Guilt ­ Joe jumps back in the narrative to the fall of John Logan, which acted as a catalyst to
the unfolding of events. Joe bringing up Logan's death gives the reader an insight into his stream
of consciousness, his guilt and a sense of restlessness which the reader can also feel.
Time ­ The repetition of events and discourses of narrative show that time is going too fast for
Joe, and he doesn't have time to evaluate every event or specific time in his rational way. The
quotes `onward rush' and `doubling the speed limit' are metaphors for Joe's feelings about the
situation with Jed.
Form
Heteroglossia ­ The clashes of Joe and Clarissa's views/opinions regarding Jed's letter and
behaviour.
Epistolary novel ­ Joe's letter
Location ­ Oxford
First person narration
Recollection/reconstruction ­ Joe reflects on how he felt when Clarissa returned home after
secretly going through her belongings, he does this through analepsis.
Structure
The majority of chapter 12 is a retrospective account of hostilities with Clarissa. However before
this, he describes how he decided to join the morning traffic and drive to John Logan's widow.
However during this he gets distracted by his own thoughts and this mix of information shows
the reader that Joe is becoming progressively more unstable and less attached to reality. He
then begins to describe his conflict with Clarissa, in which Joe predominantly describes how his

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Jed into his relationship with Clarissa. This is
clear to the reader, as his reflective thoughts increase in pace due to the heightened state of
mind he is in due to adrenaline flowing through his body. The thoughts of Clarissa being secretly
intimate with another man drives him to search her desk during which he questions his actions,
adding small breaks in the rapid flow of the narrative, through which his regular personality is
attempting to bring reason to his psychotic mind.…read more

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