In Ian Mcewan’S Novel Solar, The Audience Must Suffer Through
1603 WordsMay 7, 20177 Pages
In Ian McEwan’s novel Solar, the audience must suffer through the perspective of the obese, self-centered, womanizing main character Michael Beard whose interest in climate change stems from a desire to reap economic benefits and a boost to his reputation. Far from a novel that presents a scientific protagonist with a desire to save humanity rather than make a fortune from a catastrophic future, Solar failed to live up to the high expectation held by ecocritics. The satirical nature of the novel appears to challenge the views held by many ecocritics rather than uphold the ideas setting the basis of the ecocritical movement. Although Solar is by no means the environmental novel ecocritics were expecting, McEwan’s choice of dismissing the…show more content…
13). Beard gorges himself on food and drinks in scenes that oftentimes become difficult to read because of the explicit descriptions of his manner of savoring his meal. However, this manner of overconsumption eventually leads to the poor state of his health, much like the poor health of the planet after humans have allowed themselves to gorge themselves on the resources the Earth provides. Had Beard been characterized as a healthy figure set on quelling the issue of climate change, this extended metaphor could not have been developed and the ability to point out the severe state of the Earth would not have appeared in the novel, leading the novel to lose one of its dimensions as an environmental novel.
The dismissal of art and literature as an important component of study by Michael Beard works to define McEwan’s own personal beliefs on the subject and the effect it may have on the constant battle of climate change. Beard’s dismissal of literature and art in regard to climate change, and in general, showcases his limited perception of the subject. He deems himself well versed in Milton’s work after spending a few hours reading some essays and looks down upon the work conducted by the art students at his university: “He suspected there was nothing they talked about there that anyone with