Obsession in Enduring Love Essay

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Explore the ways in which McEwan presents obsession in Enduring Love

The theme of obsession is found in many different forms in Enduring
Love. McEwan uses language and the presentation of the characters to explore the many different types of obsession. The most obvious obsession in the novel is Jed’s obsession with Joe. As a reader, we find this perhaps the most disturbing because of the intensity with which it is presented. At the opening of the novel, immediately after the accident, Joe walks down the hill to inspect Logan’s body and is closely followed by Jed. McEwan uses language to great effect to convey Jed’s obsession with religion and Jed’s dialogue to show his eagerness to pray. ‘I mean you don’t have to believe in
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Jed’s strange behaviour towards Joe intensifies with his religious fervour.
McEwan demonstrates this in their second meeting. We begin to understand Jed’s reasoning and motivation for needing Joe to pray.
‘The purpose is to bring you to the Christ that is in you and that is you’ Placing emphasis on the word ‘purpose’ shows Jed’s intent and ultimately the motivation behind his pursual of Joe. In a sense, Jed is using his beliefs as justification for his obsession.

McEwan displays Jed’s need for Joe through the quotation ‘He was watching my face with a kind of hunger, as desperation.’ ‘Hunger’ and
‘desperation’ give the reader a sense of the insatiable passion that
Jed feels for Joe. McEwan also presents Jed’s obsession through the use of letters. These act rather like a soliloquy would and we are able to see the character of Jed without Joe’s perception as the narrator. The letters are perhaps the most disturbing part of the obsession as McEwan reveals Jed’s raw emotion. ‘Joe, Joe, Joe….I’ll confess, I covered five sheets of paper with your name.’ The use of repetition emphasises Joe as the subject of Jed’s obsession and the action of writing his name over sheet of paper is a sign of immaturity. ‘Does it horrify that I can see through you so easily?’ A rhetorical question appeals directly to the reader as we see events through Joe’s eyes and reveal an insidious side to Jed’s
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