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Love Through The Ages | Enduring Love

Ruth Owen | Wednesday October 12, 2011

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  1. Studying For The Exam
  2. Examples From Literature
  3. About The Exam
  4. Further Reading
  5. The Examination
  6. Symptoms of Love, Graves
  7. On Chesil Beach
  8. The First Tooth, Lamb
  9. The Deserter
  10. The Soldier, Brooke
  11. A Lady of Letters
  12. Sonnet 130, Shakespeare
  13. Measure for Measure
  14. Hamlet
  15. Othello
  16. King Lear
  17. Equus
  18. Great Expectations
  19. Mid-Term Break, Heaney
  20. Your Last Drive
  21. The Going
  22. The Waste Land, Elliot

Enduring Love

Ian McEwan 1948-

This passage is taken from Ian McEwan’s novel Enduring Love of 1997. The title itself here is interesting because of its ambiguity. At first glance the title suggests a love which lasts. It may then strike you that the word ‘enduring’ here could also be taken to mean putting up with love, an unwelcome or unreciprocated love. That ambiguity works well here for McEwan, as Joe, the main character, is in a long term relationship with a woman he loves, but receives unwelcome attention from a man, Jed Parry, who claims to love Joe and believes that Joe is in denial that he loves him in return.  As a consequence, Joe’s relationship with Clarissa eventually deteriorates, largely because Joe seems to be making outrageous claims about Jed’s obsessive behaviour.

‘On this particular day, in my study with my coffee and sandwiches, and my failure to make progress with the smile and Parry standing guard on the pavement, it came back to me again, how I ended up with this. From time to time I heard the click of the answering machine engaging. Every hour or so I went into the living room to check, and he was always there, staring at the entrance, like a dog tied up outside a shop. On only one occasion was he talking on the phone to me. Mostly he stood still, feet slightly apart, hands in pockets, the expression on his face , as far as I could tell, suggesting concentration, or perhaps imminent happiness.

When I looked out at five o’clock, he had gone. I lingered by the window, imagining that I could see his...


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