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Comment of the effectiveness to the novel Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 10 July 2017

Comment of the effectiveness to the novel

There are many stories conveyed in chapter 3, some stories are more prominent than others. The most obvious story is that of Joe’s, as he is the narrator of the novel. Joe’s story follows one that is direct to his perception. This presents the reader with a biased account of what happened, and each character’s behaviour as it is based primarily on Joe’s interpretation. Following on from this idea , there is a sense of scepticism introduced into the reader’s mind, it casts seeds of doubt on the story Joe is telling, it makes it seem distorted through Joe.

In chapter 3 the reader is introduced to a primitive, or selfish aspect to Joe’s nature, this is presented through the referral to Joe’s needs, not Clarissa’s or anyone else’s but simply Joe’s, “I couldn’t yet bear to talk about it”. Through Joe’s story many others are told, those of his past and the present and these stories engulf the reader into how McEwan incorporates characters, informs of their life and background, while doing this creatively, subtly.

Joe tells a story of his past, a story of humiliation and nervousness, this story is full of emotions, it re-emphasises the detachment Joe has made from his emotions over the years, or rather that if an event occurs at the present, emotions are stripped away from it, until it becomes bearable, and therefore in the past. Clarissa has been in the background of the story, only becoming important through Joe’s thoughts, now however she becomes a focal point in chapter 3.

This is captured in the commentary or Joe and Clarissa throughout the duration of the chapter, Joe is the narrator, therefore the other crux of the chapter is clearly Clarissa. Clarissa is described to be doing the necessary practical things at the beginning of this chapter, as is Joe, such as they are doing jobs that must be done when returning home, “Clarissa carried her luggage into the bedroom” . Joe initially separates his story from Clarissa’s, giving her more focus and also detachment from him, his guilt and therefore emotions.

Clarissa is portrayed from the opening of the novel to be a character able to feel and understand her emotions, contrastingly to Joe’s nature. Clarissa is a character who forms attachments, due to her emotional and caring attributes, that exist as part of her. Clarissa is haunted by the tragedy that she cannot have children, this provides the reader with a sense of sympathy for Clarissa, it also uncovers another element of Clarissa’s background.

This can be transferred to the way in which Clarissa focuses on the death of Logan, and his children being left alone. This element of the novel creates scepticism for both Joe and Clarissa, The reader doubts Joe’s ability to be unbiased, while the reader is sceptical of Clarissa’s ability to control and segment her emotions, what is extended in this idea is that Clarissa blames Joe for her inability to have children, she resents him for not giving her the one thing that lingers in her mind, the one thing the two of them together cannot overcome.

This is depicted in the novel through the repetition and reference to Logan being a good man, “He had children of his own, He wouldn’t let go”. This phrase used by McEwan can infer that Clarissa thinks Joe is not a “good man” because he let go of the rope, and this is due to him not having an emotional attachment to children, as they cannot have any together. Within the two main stories, that are Joe and Clarissa’s there come sub-stories, tales that reiterate and construct experiences for the characters.

Within Joe’s story we receive Clarissa’s but also Jed’s. Jed is depicted as that of a manipulative yet religious man, although in chapter 3 the reader is only building knowledge of him, it is clear that Jed ultimately indulges a new story. Cotrastingly Clarissa brings in the story of a friend, someone she knows and trusts, Majorie becomes introduced to the story as a friend of Clarissa’s who lost a young baby through a bacterial infection, while this increases the wealther of knowledge of Clarissa, it also provides the information of Majorie.

The combination of Joe and clarissa’s stories result in background tales of Logan, and his family. While they also divulege into their past, their experiences, Joe’s interlude of playing a trumpet on stage, a story of humiliation and embarrassment. Clarissa’s story of conern, anticipation and childhood naivety developed through the channel of a girl going missing whilst on holiday.

Free Comment of the effectiveness to the novel Essay Sample


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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 10 July 2017

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