Discuss the Significance of the Narrator in Enduring Love

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Unreliable narration is a major narrative device in Enduring Love. The story is told in first person by Joe Rose and the reader is constantly drawn to query whether we should trust his views on events. From the beginning, McEwan makes it clear that Joe is not necessarily telling the truth, but elaborating on it, creating it like McEwan does himself when he writes the novel. When discussing the balloon incident he says, ‘Knowing what I know now, it’s odd to evoke the figure of Jed Parry’. It is usually the author who evokes characters, so it is pointed out that Joe is creating his own story and its truths. Joe is an unreliable, as we sometimes question whether he is going insane rather than it just being Jed, for example when he keeps seeing things in the library. Clarissa asks him “which way this fixation runs” which forces us as readers to revaluate Joe’s reliability as a narrator. Jean Logan is part of the subplot that reflects the main plot. Like Joe, she is in a stressful situation that causes her to doubt the loyalty of her husband, like Joe does with Clarissa. In the end, both John and Clarissa are vindicated as Jean and Joe realise the truth. The fact that there are chapters from Joe, Clarissa and Jed’s viewpoint force us to look at things from different points of view. Obviously this is metaphorically comparable to the contrasting views of science, art and religion respectively. However Ian McEwan shows us that we shouldn’t take one view over another, all of them have flaws- Joe sees things too logically, Clarissa is too emotionally involved and Jed uses his faith as a reason for his obsession when it obviously isn’t

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