Enduring Love: Chapter 1

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How does Ian McEwan make chapter one of Enduring Love interesting and intriguing?

McEwan uses a number of techniques to make the first chapter of Enduring Love interesting and intriguing. The techniques used in the opening passages draw the reader into the narrative, gaining their curiosity and forcing them to read on.

By writing in the first person McEwan allows the reader to empathise with his main character from the very first page. This gives the reader an immediate intimacy with the narrator, making us feel involved in the action as soon as it begins. For instance the first page drags the reader into the story almost immediately with the repeated use of the word “I”. For example “”I don’t recall,” “I ran faster,” and “I see us”. At this point we don’t even know our characters name and we only know minimal, abstract details about him. Using “I” so much at this point without telling us much about the character, could be an attempt by the author to subliminally make us think we are the character. By making the character anonymous yet personal we are drawn into the novel as we feel what is going on will directly affect us. This would give us an instant understanding of the characters situation making us interested in what will happen next and thus willing us to read on.

As mentioned we don’t find out the characters name in the first passages or indeed the entire first chapter of the novel. We find out lots about his life, where he lives, his interests, what his relationship with his girlfriend is like and what she is interested in but we don’t find out as simple a thing as his name. On the one hand we could interpret this as simply the author adding intrigue, making us want to read on to find out his name. However, it could also be, as mentioned above, a device by which we are able project on to the main character. As in, because he is nameless but speaks in the first person there is nothing to stop it from being “me” experiencing the events the...
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