Chapter 8 Enduring Love

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How does McEwan tell the story in Chapter 8?
In the taxi into town to pick up a book, Joe reflects on what happened the day before with Jed. He then focused
his thoughts on an article he was to write about the smile discussing how biologists and evolutionary
psychologists were reshaping the social sciences and how it was becoming more superseded by sciences of
evolutionary psychology, NeoDarwinism and genetics a development Clarissa rejects as 'rationalism gone
berserk'. Joe returns to the flat where Jed is waiting for him, and where he phones him repeatedly throughout the
day. Joe phones the police to be told there was nothing the police could do. Joe then fills us in on his past ­ a
failed theoretical physicist turned science journalist, wishing to get back to his old life, wanting to achieve
something new before he was fifty. In Jed's 29 phone calls, there is one about Joe signalling to him with the
curtains ­ Joe returns to the living room and pulls one aside "foolishly expecting to find a clue".
Romanticism versus Rationalism: Joe's rationalism begins juxtaposing Jed's romanticism, which inadvertently
feeds Jed's romantic nature towards Joe. Joes also goes on a discourse from the narrative where he discusses
NeoDarwinism and evolutionary psychology, which Clarissa describes as 'rationalism gone berserk', so there is
this constant conflict between Romanticism and Rationalism which Joe finds himself outnumbered by.
Failure: Joes has a desperation to `achieve something new before I was fifty' in his scientific field, which so far
he hasn't achieved. Joe starts contradicting himself, which shows his lack of confidence, security and selfworth
which could have developed from his sense of failure.
Obsession/insanity: Jed's obsession with Joe is starting to become an issue, `There were three work
messages, leaving Parry's score at twentynine', and he also stands outside of Joe's property "Every hour or so I
went into the living room to check, and he was always there", which starts to foreshadow major future events ­
breaking down the relationship between Joe and Clarissa. The obsession is becoming a motif towards Joe's
insanity. Joe contacts the police, highlighting his weakening mental state he can no longer simply tolerate Jed's
behaviour and because of this it begins weakening his rational wellbeing.
First person narrative from Joe's point of view.
Discourses (scientific theories)
Heteroglossia (juxtaposition between scientific non fiction writing and nonfictional writing where he is describing
what he is feeling)
The chapter begins with Joe reflecting on Jed's actions putting them down to him being `confused' perhaps
foreshadowing Parry's reckless behaviour to come. Jed is like a catalyst in the turning point of the narrative, both
the reader and Joe are aware that Jed's behaviour is beyond confusion. We slowly see Joe beginning to break
while he is reflecting on the life he could have had in addition to the 29 messages Jed has left him.
The chapter opens with harmless descriptions of Parry as a "confused", "annoyance" and "harmless". This
contrasts the more sinister language that had been used to foreshadow his obsessions and represents the dips
in the tension of the story. This is shortly followed by Clarissa's description of the latest scientific topic as
"rationalism gone berserk" that represents her romanticism that borders on irrationality, a quality she shares with
Parry. Parry's reappearance came with a change in the language. Words such as "woe", "panic" sceptical" and
"laconic" are used to describe the police officer that takes his emergency call. This signifies the "starting point"
where things are serious for Joe, and the police can't fix his problems. This results in Joe's reflective language
being more depressive as he sees himself as a "parasite" on the local scientific community. The chapter ended
with words "brooding" and "foolishly" to describe Joes handling of the Parry situation.


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