The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes Essay
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Of course the overwhelming reason as to why I read this novel was due to it? length. I have never liked long books; I often times find the monotonous and wordy. Before beginning the novel I assume you would need to know somewhat about the culture of the sixties and also social customs and terms originating from the United Kingdom seeing as that? where the majority of the novel takes place. This setting is only imperative to the novel because lends reference.
The novel opens on four schoolmates who are all seemingly very intelligent and philosophical and we can sense that before this opening scene, they have all been sent to a boarding school by their parents and they all seem to very much enjoy it. The story is told from the perspective of Anthony (Tony) Webster, who is also one of the four schoolmates. As the novel progresses we see the main character? attempt to not be out-shone by his friend Adrian who will later on begin dating his ex girlfriend and ultimately commit suicide.
Tony struggles with his over processing mind and also the perilous struggles that every young adult faces such as messy relationships, school and work. Though the novel can tend to rant on about philosophical self-evidence and theories that can at times be above me, the author captures my attention excellently through his fast pace and extensive vocabulary. We live in time ? it holds us and moulds us? but I? e never felt I understood it very well. And I? not referring to theories about how it blends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions.
No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly. Then Sense of an Ending (p. 10) This quote here summarizes the views that Tony Webster has on time. The everyday time that passes. It represents the rapid pace at which the novel moves and shows the lack of representation that this everyday time actually has; the simple passing of life. At this point in the novel, we see the main character has rapidly aged. Suddenly the author flys through life events that we would otherwise determine as largely significant.
He mentions a brief marriage to a woman named Margret. A daughter and divorce and ultimately a life as a fifty-something, living alone. As a reader curiosity as to why the author would spend so much time pouring over a somewhat mundane young adult relationship with one Veronica Ford to only skim the events that tend to define ones entire livelihood. However suddenly in the mist of all these rapid pace events, a letter arrives. The peculiar mother of said ex girlfriend Veronica Ford, has left him that of an inheritance.
Julian Barnes reminds me of an author I read as a little girl under the pen name Lemony Snicket. Lemony Snicket would often times relentlessly lull on about entire topics for pages at a time. I adore this style of writing and will always hold it in high regard. This is a style which I find in Mr. Barnes writing. The emergence of the main theme I am finding is simply Time. Time and the narrators view of it and the worlds view of it and History to be specific. Now, two characters to describe. For the first I choose Annie. Annie is an American girl that Tony meets while in America.
It is the sixties, and Annie is free spirited. They share a summer as lovers and friends and they part ways without any sort of stringy messy landmines we call feelings attached to them. Annie is in my opinion the ideal girl of the era. Tony states however that she is irrelevant to the story. I find this amusing though because she brings out the stark contrast of Tony’s ex girlfriend Veronica; who shall be my second character description. Veronica does not know what she wants and Tony repeatedly ties her to the phrase ?
amaged She is somewhat psychotic and after breaking up with Tony then finally sleeping with him, she runs off with his schoolmate Adrian. I chose to describe these two characters because later on in the novel we see Margret make a statement about how there are the women who are clearcut and concise and there are those with and air of mystery. I feel as if these two women represent perfectly the two types of women discussed. Enough of this idiotic relationship talk, I feel myself numbing with boredom and ignorance.
“But if we can’t understand time, can’t grasp its mysteries of pace and progress, what chance do we have with history? The Sense of an Ending (p. 80) This quote simply displays the main theme of the novel. The direct correlation between time and history. So now at the tail end of the novel, Tony realizes that he somewhere in his story telling has missed the mark and he begins to re-examine his his high-school years, through his early college days where he first met and started dating the woman?
daughter, the strange, seemingly aloof girl, Veronica. So Tony becomes aware of his inappropriate actions regarding a certain letter and we, the reader, realize that Tony is somewhat of an unreliable narrator. This can however make for a wonderful and amusing novel, somewhat of a challenge to read, similar to what I saw while reading The Thirteenth Tale. We see at the climax a review of Tony’s life and all the workings it possess. The title The Sense of an Ending can be related to this book by way of the culmination of ones life.
The decisions one makes can alter anothers or it can have no affect at all on it. I would highly recommend this work of art to anyone willing to spend a breif weekend indulging in heavy wordage and philosophical mindsets of tortured souls. I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is another of our fears. That life wouldn’t turn out to be like Literature. ” I find this quote wholesome and completing of this novel because no matter how philosophical you become with your own life, it never turns out as you would have planned.