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How Appropriate Is The Title To The Subject Matter Of The Novel

1062 words - 4 pages

How appropriate is the title to the subject matter of the Novel
Enduring love?

Throughout the novel Enduring Love McEwan opens the reader’s eyes to
many different forms of love through the actions and emotions of his
characters. He also makes us aware that people are able to have more
than one love.

The first love we encounter is that between Joe and Clarissa whose
relationship up until the day of Logan’s death was “without a trace of
complication”. The fact that the novel starts with something as
clichéd as a picnic could represent their relationship so far, it not
only sets the scene but instantly tells the reader about the kind of
relationship Joe and Clarissa have. McEwan takes the opportunity to
show us how much Joe is in love with Clarissa by letting us know that
her birthday gift from him was the “most expensive single item” he had
ever bought and “must have cost Joe thousands”. Another example of
the strength of Joe and Clarissa’s love is in chapter three when they
turn to each other for comfort after Logan’s death. Joe believes that
sharing his every thought and feeling with his partner will exorcise
his demons (“I wanted to tell Clarissa”, “I wanted to tell her I loved
her”) and in turn Clarissa reveals her need for Joe’s love in her
moment of fear and instability; “I just want to hold you”.

Although Clarissa is in love with Joe, she’s “also in love with
another man”. She is an English academic studying the last letters of
Keats and is passionate about her work. McEwan informs the reader of
her great love for Keats through her trip to Harvard, USA; as much as
she loves Joe, she sacrificed his company for six weeks to search for
“hypothetical letters” and her most prized possession is the “first
edition of his first collection, Poems of 1817”. Joe on the other
hand is a freelance scientific journalist who reads science narratives
by Darwin and the like and has himself written thirty-five science
based articles and seven books. The narrative throughout the novel
clearly exhibits Joe’s great scientific and psychological knowledge on
a wide range of topics; “Vertiginous theories of chaos and
turbulence”, “complex set of genes controlling for groundless
conviction”, “infinities in the renormalisable theories”. McEwan uses
this complicated language and otherwise useless information to prove
Joe’s intelligence, whilst distancing us from him. Another method
McEwan uses to express Joe’s love for science is shown in chapter
eight where Joe displays one of his “manic bouts of dissatisfaction”
with his career. The fact that he is depressed about being an
“outsider” to his profession reveals his desperation to get “back to
original research”; to have a closer relationship with science.

The form of love in the novel which disrupts the “equilibrium” is Jed
Parry’s for Joe. This “homo-erotic obsession” (also known as “de
Clérambault’s syndrome”) Parry has is not deterred by Joe’s continuous

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