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Aspects of Narrative- Enduring love

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Sharmaine Madden

on 25 February 2013

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Transcript of Aspects of Narrative- Enduring love

Time and Sequence Chapter 13 is written in past tense. The narrator, Joe, is reflecting back on the experience of visiting John Logan’s wife. He tells us the experience in chronological order, from the woman’s reactions as she opens up the door to him, and her opinions on the way the situations were being handled by the police. Scenes and Places The place Joe goes to visit in this chapter is Jean Logan's home which is in Oxford. Oxford is famously known for having one of the best universities in the country. This fits in well with the character of Jean Logan as she is an academic, intelligent woman who is able to make a persuasive argument. Aspects of Narrative in Chapter Thirteen. By Reni and Sharmaine. Characters and Characterisation In this chapter Jean Logan is described as the embodiment of grief by Nick in the beginning of the chapter. The fact he uses this makes the reader think that she is upset and mourning for her late husband however 'the anger in her voice was suddenly there'. this suggests that even though Jean has lost her husband she wants certain things cleared up like if her husband was cheating on her. Voices in the Text We hear the narrative in this chapter only through the voice of Joe Rose. He is a trustworthy narrator because he was there at the time, so part of the experience, therefore he is a primary source. However he might not be trustworthy because as a character, we notice he questions himself frequently, like when he says, “...with its door, or doors, wide open.” Furthermore, he is an intrusive narrator, which means that in addition to reporting the events of the original story, also further comments on Jean Logan’s character, and reflects upon the significance of certain occurrences from his own perspective and interpretation.
Other voices are presented in this text by dialogue, for example. We hear what Jean Logan says, and her opinions, through her conversation with Joe. We are also in a way able to hear the voice of the sergeant Jean mentions, repeating the words he said to her; “There, there Mrs Logan!... We know it’s your husband, the father of your children, but we’re in charge and please don’t get in the way.” Points of View We hear the narrative in this chapter only through the voice of Joe Rose. Joe is not only a character in the story but is an active participant. This effects the narration as he can be biased and this can lead to an unreliable narrator. However Joe says that he can be biased so therefore this shows that he could be considered to be a reliable narrator because he knows that he may be biased at some point. He is also a trustworthy narrator because he was there at the time, so part of the experience, therefore he is a primary source. Destination Voices in the Text Continued The voices do not all agree, as Jean Logan’s suspicions of her husband having an affair is disputed by the sergeant.
I would say that the voice I believe is that of Joe Rose, and this is because he appears to be thinking the most logically: “What I was in Jean’s grief reduced my own situation to uncomplicated elements, to a periodic table of simple good sense.” This is a straightforward and rational thought by him, amidst the confusing events going on around him and in the mind of Jean Logan.
In contrast to this, Jean’s opinions in this text are based upon grief and anger, therefore they might not be completely reliable.
The sergeant’s opinions are based on work ethics, which prevent him from quickly agreeing to Jean’s accusations and surmisings. Heidegger says that a defining characteristic of art is that it is an ‘happening of truth.’ The type of truths happening in this text are personal truths and to an extent, social truths. Personal truths such as Jean’s belief of the fact that her husband was with another woman on a picnic, and that he must have been engaging in an affair with her: “I need to know how long it was going on, and what it meant.” Not everyone thinks so, especially the police who completely dismiss her idea. The other truth is Joe’s sudden realization that love is the most important – “…when it’s gone you’ll know what a gift love was.” And I think that this is what Ian McEwan wants us as the reader to think about as we read the chapter. He is also presenting to us the strength of love, through Jean saying, “If she comes near this house... I’ll kill her. God help me, but I will.” This is the extent of the effect of love on the woman, as we can see she is willing to kill the person who took her love away from her. Perhaps as Joe reflects upon his love towards his wife, Clarissa, McEwan wants the readers to equally do so as they are drawn in with Joe, and think about our own loved ones, and the importance of this connection between people. Destination Continued Another concept I believe the author is trying to make the readers think about is the fact that it is essentially difficult to deduce the true reasons behind the things we see other people do, and this pertains to Joe’s thoughts about Jean’s appearance: “If you knew nothing you might guess by her face that she was a sedentary sort of person with a heavy cold.” This
statement points out how most of us never really know what is going on in the lives of other people. We pass people on the roads almost everyday but are oblivious to any of the sufferings that could be going on in their lives, and instead, we surmise reasons for that which we do not understand, instead of asking
for clarification. Joe realises this because on arrival, he reads the house as a “perfect setting for sorrow,” but once inside sees that it has other, older stories to tell too. Paragraph Analysis Page 111.
In this Chapter 13, McEwan creates a remarkable picture of a house of resigned sadness and of a woman driven nearly mad by grief and jealousy, and in this paragraph, we hear the angry voice of Jean Logan, and ‘the thoughts that tormented her all night.’

“There are things I want to know”, Jean Logan said, and the anger in her voice was suddenly there. “I’ve got lots of questions for all sorts of people. But I don’t think they’re going to give me the answers. They pretend they don’t even understand the questions.” She paused and swallowed hard. I had tapped into a repeating voice in her head, I was over-hearing the thoughts
that tormented her all night. Her sarcasm was too theatrical, too energetic and I felt the weight of exhausted reiteration behind it. “I’m the mad one, of course. I’m irrelevant, I’m in the way. It’s not convenient to answer my questions because
they don’t fit the story. There, there Mrs Logan! Don’t go fretting about things that don’t concern you and aren’t important anyway. We know it’s your husband, the father of your children, but we’re in charge and please don’t get in the way…” This is in a way an oxymoron
because ‘exhausted’ means
worn-out, whereas reiteration
is repetition, which is on-going. This sentence in a way links
to the feelings that Jed Parry
has about Joe, so McEwan is
linking the characters through
their thoughts. Because Jed feels
Joe is purposely not understanding him, which is what Jean feels about the police. Jean lives in Oxford, so from this paragraph we can see that she is an academic, intelligent person who can present a very persuasive argument. The repetition of words in the paragraph reflect Jean’s perplexity and anger.
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