This text belongs to the novel Enduring Love written by Ian McEwan. The extract is set at the beginning of the novel when Joe retells the events of the accident that will shape Joe and Clarissa’s lives forever.
The main theme of the extract is the unexpected turns of life, and the binary position between order & chaos. We may relate the former theme with the way that Joe’s life changes in one minute, and the feeling of not being able to control the situation. And, the latter, we may note that there is a difference in the way that the event actually happened and the way that the narrator tells it. Joe possesses a kind of mind that organizes itself before retelling an event, in this case, the balloon accident that is the trigger of the events of the novel.
Moreover, one of the most important devices that Joe uses to retell the event is: tension/suspense/intrigue. He does this through different means. Firstly, there is a need for urgent action, which makes the reader feel like no time should be wasted. An example for this is when Joe says ‘five men running silently towards the center of a hundred-acre field’. The fact that the men are running, and the visual image created by the sentences, already creates anxiety in the reader. Also, because of Joe’s rational mind, there is a lot of analysis of the situation. For example, ‘I’m lingering in the prior moment because it was a time when other outcomes were still possible’ demonstrate how Joe keeps on analysing the event up to the ‘present time’ when he is writing. This also creates a lot of intrigue in the reader, since he is left wondering what will happen afterwards.
Moreover, another way that Joe uses for creating suspense is holding back information. This is clear when Joe refers to the accident, as ‘the encounter that would unhinge us was minutes away, its enormity’ or ‘ By the time it happened- the event I am about to describe, the fall- she had...’. Through these long