Explore How Successfully Mcewan Contrasts the Arts and Sciences to Aid His Narrative in Enduring Love

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  • Topic: Fiction, Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
  • Pages : 2 (584 words )
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  • Published : May 14, 2013
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Explore how successfully McEwan contrasts the arts and sciences to aid his narrative in Enduring Love DH Lawrence once famously wrote, ‘If t be not true for me, what care I what truth it be?’ This, perhaps, sums up the different, contrasting perspectives of arts and science shown in the novel. Two of our main characters, Joe and Clarissa, exemplify these two contrasting viewpoints and this allows for one of the main themes of Enduring Love to enter the novel; the choice of whether or not to accept other people’s stories. The contrast of perspectives between Clarissa and Joe is highlighted in Chapter 8, during their discussion about ‘the baby’s smile’. Joe, the rational scientist states, ‘That smile must be hard-wired, and for good evolutionary reasons’, whereas Clarissa, the Keats scholar who focuses on the arts, interprets the smile differently, saying ‘he tut of that smile was in the eye and heart of the parent and in the unfailing love which only had meaning through time’. This shows the overarching contrast between science and the arts throughout the novel and shows a contrast between the two beliefs by each character not accepting the other’s point of view, ‘She said ‘no’ I still didn’t understand’. The fact that the discussion about the baby’s smile, including Clarissa’s interpretations, is focalised through Joe also suggests that science is the most reasonable interpretation, as Joe describes it in a way that makes him appear to fully understand what Clarissa is talking about, even though it is Clarissa who appears to feel misunderstood. Roger Clarke and Andy Gordon, in their book, ‘Continuum Contempories’ state ‘science for Joe and literature for Clarissa represent ways of knowing the world and making sense of it.’ This is shown particularly clearly after the end of chapter three, after the loss of the shared narrative, ‘I know I made my first serious mistake when I turned on my side and sad to her...’ From this point forward both Joe’s and Clarissa’s...
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