Analysis of Chapter 9 of Enduring Love by Ian Mcewan

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Chapter Nine is a turning point in the plot of Ian McEwan's Enduring Love. In the former chapters, Joe and Clarissa witness a ballooning accident in which a man dies. This event is an emotional shock for both of them. On that day, they meet Jed Parry, a Christian fanatic. The same night, he phones Joe saying “I love you”, but Joe, too scared of Parry and of worrying Clarissa hangs up and says that it is a wrong number (p. 37). Few days after, Joe confesses about it to Clarissa, adding that Parry had been following him at the library, but she reproaches him not telling her before and does not seem to believe in the stalking, and thinks he imagined the whole thing. Then, the real harassment starts : Parry waits for Joe at the front door,…show more content…
It should be a quiet room where people relax. But it is not here : « the thunder of the taps » (p.81, l.18-19). This room is the frontier between their love and their feelings struggling to be set free. All the atmosphere is tense, the first person who will let her feelings go will engage the « battle » (p.87, l.26). And this person is the « borderline case » (p.81, l.33) Clarissa letting go the word « symptom » (p.84, l.18). With this word she opens up on her doubts of Parry's existence. And she is not going to stop there : « Why did you wipe the message of the tape? » (p.85, l.15), she even brings back Joe's lie about the wrong number call. She puts the final touch by saying out loud « It's like you invented him » (p.86, l.26). After this terrible sentence, we know that there is going to be a rupture in their relationship : they do not trust each other anymore ; Clarissa doubting the whole Parry harassment thing and Joe lacking of Clarissa's support will not confide anymore in anyone. And the break-up appears to us clearly : bad words, anger, slammed doors. In this relationship, they were both paying attention to each other's feelings, never letting their deepest thoughts escaping in order to not hurt each other. Clarissa is very careful with what she says « Her careful questions were designed to help him » (p.85, l.10) and Joe acts the same way with her « Also it's particularly hard to be harsh

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