Enduring Love

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  • Created by: Izzy
  • Created on: 14-05-14 13:12

Balloon Incident - Structure

  • Most important event in the novel 
  • Rather than build up to a climax, McEwan starts with one (atypical)
  • Rest of the book seen as the 'falling action'
  • Perhaps even anti-climatic after this dramatic point?
  • Structurally - it's signficant in the consequences it creates
  • Most notably, it begins the conflict between Joe and Jed
  • Dramatic nature of the events, contrasts with the idyllic setting of Joe and Clarissa's romantic picnic - symbolic of disruption of their love
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Balloon Incident - Dramatic Nature

  • Incident is described dramatically 
  • From the men's struggles to keeping the balloon down
  • "the rope ran through my grip, scorching my palms"
  • To the suspense in the final moments
  • "And still he hung there. For two seconds, three, four. And then he let go"
  • Simple, short sentances creates a tense, fast-paced build up to Logan's death
  • Signficant in it's own right as a gripping narrative event
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Chapter One - Relationship between Jed and Joe

  • Before the incident they are described as "rushing towards each other like lovers"
  • And then as being "blocked by the balloon that lay between them"
  • These two images symbolize their relationship


  • 1st - Idea that they are a pair of "lovers" foreshadows Jed's obsession with Joe
  • Ironically hints at Joe's gradual reciprocal obsession


  • 2nd - Balloon between them representing the divide between the two, which builds up throughout the novel - they can never see each others view point
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Introduction to Joe Rose's Narrative Voice

  • RETROSPECTIVE - He swtiches between intellectual reflection, retrospective point of view and the immediacy of the event
  • This slows the pace and shows how he often digresses from the action
  • UNRELIABLE - As the book progresses, McEwan deliberately makes us question Joe's rationality
  • Especially in the interview after the resteraunt shooting
  • By constructing this objective, rational style - it adds to the impact of his seeming dissintergration of his believability later on
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Pathetic Fallacy (wind in Balloon Accident)

"Precarious form of transport when the wind, rather than the pilot, set the course"

  • Joe's passing thought upon first seeing the ballon in this chance encounter with the incident
  • Both foreshadows the accident by calling it "precarious" and precipitates the struggle for control that will follow.
  • He remarks on the wind's power in balloon travel , Joe evokes a feeling of powerlesness and chance.
  • He soon finds out, all the character's are subject to chance's power
  • Joe struggles to gain power over several characters in the novel
  • Including physical power over Jed and emotional power over Clarissa
  • Quote suggests that a real threat to Joe's power and sel-sufficiency is chance - soemthing he cannot rationalise or fight against
  • In order to make the revelation more manageable - Joe "instantly" forget it 
  • In coming chapters, chooses to see Parry and C as real threats to his power
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"The beginning is simple to mark" "I've already marked my beginning" "beginning is an artifice"

  • McEwan cautions the reader through Joe to be skeptical of what follows
  • "artifice" suggesting what follows next must be artificial in some way
  • Joe questions the truth in stories, forcing the reader to question the truth in EL
  • Aspects of metafiction, as McEwan tells the reader the purpose of stories - to make sense
  • Joe will spend the novel trying to make sense of John Logan's senseless fall by retreating into science and research
  • Sense of the concepts of love and knowledge - whilst indirectly challenging them
  • With Joe's awareness of his artifice - the reader becomes aware of the artifice of Enduring Love
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Metanarrative Techniques

Chapter Two - "Threading single perceptions into narrative"

  • Joe plays with the idea of creating a narrative
  • Experience of Logan's death in its raw form is too awful for them to handle
  • Joe uses the metaphor of 'crafting' to explain their struglle of putting the "unspeakable into forms of words"
  • They hammer away at the shapless and unintlligible form form of Jogan's death - and to shape into something that has meaning
  • Joe compares narrative-making to sewing
  • They combine isolated perceptions and experiences into a story
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Different Perceptions - Joe and Clarissa

Chapter 8 "Truth in that smitle was in the eye and heart of the parent, and in the unfolding love...That smile must be hard-wired, and for good evolutionary reasons. Clarissa said I had not understood her"

  • Highlights the contrasting "readings" of Clarissa and Joe, in one of their "table sessions"
  • In their argument - the 'meaning' of a baby's smile
  • Clarissa uses emotional and symbolic approach
  • Joe uses a rational and scientific one
  • Despite its multifaceted critique of neo-Darwinism, Enduring Love does in fact hold out hope for a rapprochement between the sciences and the humanities
  • As a result of their different viewpoints - find it hard to understnad one another
  • Core of their disagreement - confusion over what they're discussing
  • Clarissa - speaking about love & Joe - C's desire for children
  • Inability to merge their viewpoints - prevents them
  • Highlights the lack that their relationship has - children
  • Althought their love seems perfect at the beginning, Jed is able to divide them by exploiting the "lacks" and differences in their relationship.
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Jed's First Letter

"fingered the leaves that you had touched... skein of God's sensous creation unfolding in a scorching sense of touch" Chapter 11

  • In Jed's 1st leter to Joe, detailing the love and connection he feels
  • Jed uses steryotypical love letter language and tropes to convey his feelings 
  • Varies from schoolboyish to almost ****** ("scorching sense of touch")
  • Letter echoes and contrasts with the love letters Joe claims Clarissa wrote him at the beginning of their relationship
  • Joe explains how Clarissa believes that a love can only be perfect when it is expressed perfectly through words "her conviction that love that did not find its expression in a letter was not perfect"
  • For Parry, his love is expressed perfectly through words - does that make his love perfect?
  • Parry's love letters complicate the idea of perfect love and further drive apart Joe and Clarisa
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Joe's Scientific Perception

  • Opening used to establish his rational, scientific narrative style
  • Joe reflects on dramatic events using distinct scientific lexis
  • Describes how (even in midst of the action) "barely a neuronal pulse later came, other than thoughts in which fear and instant calculations of logarthmic complexity were fused"
  • If he can explain it - he is stronger than it
  • Used to master emotions and chance by reducing them to science
  • Objective viewpoint is emphasized as he at one point refers to the incident from a 3rd person perspective, with a "buzzard' flying high above
  • Predominance with sceine that comes into conflict with Jed's relgious viewpoint - a theme explored in detail within the novel
  • The narrative style contrasts with the action itself
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Joe's management of Jed Parry

"De Clarambault's syndrome. The name was like a fanfare, a clear trumpet sound recalling my own obsessions. There was research to follow through now...A syndrome was a framework of prediction" Chapter 14

  • Joe's identification of Jed's syndrom is a turning point in the novel
  • Since Joe diagnoses him - Parry is now easily dealt with (instead of being an unpredictable force)
  • Joe receives power from this discovery and uses his knowledge to trap Parry within the scientific confines of a "syndrome"
  • At the same time - he shows a larger self-awareness as a narrator
  • Realising he has become obsessed with him, as Jed has with himself
  • Sense of bias is introduced
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Jed's Love for Joe

  • Joe reflects on what realizing Parry's syndrome means for him
  • Hopes to use Parry's love as a reverse guide to bring Clarissa back to him
  • Using a definition, by opposition approach
  • Joe tried to not understand what love really is, but by looking at everything Jed's love is not
  • John Logan's fall from the sky, causes Joe and Clarissa to fall from the innocence of their love
  • A necessary step for them to truly understanding it
  • By contrasting their pure, real love to Parry's nightmarish, insane love
  • Their love grows stronger and more powerful, ultimatey surving 
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Clarissa's Love for Joe - Her Letter

Chapter 23 - "I always thought our love was the kind that was meant to go on. Perhaps it will. I just don't know"

  • One of few instances we get to see Clarissa's unfiltered voice, seeing her express the same sentiment as Joe
  • Whilst she previously believed their love was "superior" - she's no longer sure
  • Like the reader, C is both skeptical of both the enduring power of love and objective truth of knowledge
  • Her diction shapes this though
  • With her longest sentance describing what they're love used to be (an enduring stream of relative hapiness)
  • She breaks that sentance of and finishes her letter with two very short sentances (one isn't even a proper sentance)
  • As an english professor - she has the abilit to express her intentions through writing
  • Uses her ability to manipulate wording to imply, that like her sentances, their relationship has ended too early - it has become stunted
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Joe's Retrospective Viewpoint

  • Joe manipulates events as he has a retrospective advantage
  • Told as if they were real time, but he allows them to be extended and halted
  • Purpose to provide extra detail
  • Gives an omniscient view over the story
  • Idea of Joe's God-complex
  • Needs control over the narratives shape
  • Builds up the significance of what is about to happen
  • Sense he may bias the events of unravelling whose is the true perspective
  • As a centre of consciousness, Joe's narration is constantly questioned
  • During the one of the most climatic events in the novel - the Resteraunt scene in chapter 19
  • One again we have the symbolism of distotion, this time through water, when Joe tells us "I seemed to be remembering an underwater event"
  • He appears to be suggesting his memory may have changed reality into something else.
  • Certainly seems to be the case, when he tells us his sorbet is "lime" flavoured and then tells the police it was "apple"
  • This creates a sense of suprise when his views and scientific perception is vindicated in Appendix 1 
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Post modern Novels - Unreliable Narrators

  • Use the idea of an unreliable narrator 
  • To unsettle the reader - not allow them to just be absorbed in the action
  • Such as red herrings placed in the text to make us suspicious e.g. when he erases Jed's messages in the answer machine
  • Remind the reader it is fiction
  • Reader is constantly drawn to query whether we should trust his view 
  • In the opening - sense that Joe's not telling the whoel truth - but elaborating on it
  • "Knowing what I know now, its odd to evoke the figure of Jed Parry"
  • Evoking characters is typical of authors, it is pointed out to us that Joe's taking on an authorial voice
  • Uses metanarrative techniques such as "what idiocy to be racing into this story and it's labyrinths" 
  • Not only Joe who is racing into the novel - but McEwan and the reader
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Joe's Distorted View

  • Joe is a storyteller - he's part of the fiction so he may distort the events of the novel in his favour
  • This is particularly obvious in Chapter 4, when he speaks of the Hubble Telescope
  • The lens of the telescope could be corrected by science "The mistake was put right, the twelve-billion year old pictures came true and sharp"
  • Symbolises how science can correct our views 
  • But reality can be distorted by the 'lens' of science
  • In other words, Joe's view distorts the balloon incident and the subsequent stalking by Jed
  •  McEwan allows us to see the aftermath of the balloon accident through the perspective of each character's own 'lens' 
  • The conflcit in the novel stems from being in different 'mental universes'
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Jean Logan's Perspective

  • Joe's seeming unreliability is paralled by Jean Logan's actual unreliability in the story she creates about her husband's affair in chapter 13.
  • She constructs her narrative as McEwan constructs his - are both views distorted?
  • She invents it from seemingly insignifcant 'clues' such as the "small silk scarf" which smells of rose water
  • These are in fact signficant as they parallel Joe's insignificant evidence such as the symbol of Parry "White trainers, with red laces"
  • She interprets the signs similarly and doesn't listen to others points of view "She didn't hear me"
  • The scene acts as a warning to Joe - but he is ignorant and can't see past his own viewpoint
  • Ironically adding it was "a theory, a narrative that only grief, the dementia of pain could devise"
  • Warning to readers that we can all misinterpret events - here the reader is being cautioned again to not trust what we are told
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