The sample essay on Interest In Suspense deals with a framework of research-based facts, approaches, and arguments concerning this theme. To see the essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, read on.
The first chapter of Enduring Love is all about the accident that brings all the characters together in the novel and introduces them to us. There are a lot of interesting techniques used in this chapter which create interest and suspense.
There are at least ten points I could talk about but I have decided to talk about three at length.
One of the main conventions used by McEwan in the first chapter of Enduring Love is the delaying of information. This convention is used a lot in films and books and works brilliantly in this chapter. McEwan starts by giving us a very brief account of what happened before the accident.
The main character Joe and his wife Clarissa are having a picnic, enjoying themselves. They are about to start on a bottle of ‘1987 Daumas Gassac’ when they hear a man’s shout.
This is the point where information about what happened is held from us. There is no description of what is taking place. McEwan uses phrases like ‘the danger’ and ‘the encounter’ to describe the event. This is a clever technique to use because it really frustrates us to not know what is going on whilst the character clearly does. It almost forces us to read on.
He also releases very small pieces of information about the accident as well, that also allow interest and suspense. Phrases such as ‘the fall’, ‘fatal lack of co-operation’ and ‘this was the last time I ever understood anything clearly at all’ all add to the tension, making us desperate for the lengthy description that Joe will give to us. Apart from the lack of description of the accident, there is also the fact that Joe keeps getting sidetracked, feeding us information about all of the people that were there that day. “About two hundred yards to my left two men ran side by side.
They were farm labourers ho had been repairing the fence along the field’s southern edge where it skirts the road. ” This information seems pointless but it just increases our interest in what is happening. This information is creating suspense in an unusual way, but it achieves the desired effect. McEwan does this for the first eight pages of the book, stopping even to reminisce about what he did before going to the park, buying the picnic and Clarissa’s present for example. Finally he gets to the accident, releasing the tension and burying the reader in the detailed description of the tragedy, in which John Logan, one of the men who try to help, dies.
So this method, creating suspense for most of the chapter, works extremely well and gives us an enthralling entrance into the book. The second technique that helps to create interest and suspense in the first chapter is the narration of Joe, the main character. The way he describes things throughout the chapter is very interesting and reveals a lot about his character and his character’s traits and foibles, such as his rationalisation of everything. Joe talks retrospectively, which means he talks after the accident.
It becomes quite obvious as we progress through the chapter that Joe has had a lot of time to think about what happened that day and it is obviously a very painful memory for him. He lingers on the time before the accident when ‘other outcomes were still possible’. He even goes as far to tell us that he doesn’t like to talk about it: “I’m holding back, delaying the information” It is quite clear that he has gone over the details of this accident, over and over again, ‘obsessive re-examination’ as he calls it, and is quite fed up of telling the story and reliving those painful memories.
His memories are so clear that he can tell us in detail everything about the park’s layout, who was there and what they were doing. He can even remember what wine he was about to drink at the time of the accident, so these memories are obviously still thought about on a daily, and perhaps nightly, basis. All of this helps to create suspense and interest. It makes us think ‘what could it be that could damage a person this much, both emotionally and mentally? and allows us to wonder what it could be whilst keeping us interested in the story because every time we feel sure the accident will be revealed we are thrown back for a few more minutes by Joe’s reluctance to tell the story. Joe finally reveals the nature of the accident about 3 pages into the book: “At the base of the balloon there was a basket in which there was a boy, and by the basket, clinging to a rope, was a man in need of help. ” This seems to unhinge Joe slightly as he casts us back into the past and starts talking about what he did hours before, such as when he bought the picnic.
So Joe’s narration of the event also helps to create a lot of suspense. The words and phrases that he uses make us yearn to know exactly what is happening. We are teased by his narration during the first chapter and we are kept interested and in suspense by it. McEwan also manages to command a certain amount of suspense and interest whilst describing the accident and the events leading up to Logan’s death. The fact that everyone was doing their own thing, causing the accident to get way out of hand keeps you absolutely enthralled in the book.
You wish and hope that they will work together and save the boy without any fatalities but in the back of your mind, you know what is going to happen before it does, you just need it to be confirmed. This is why we read on here, we need to know, we feel involved somehow and we get drawn in. You can really feel the remorse that Joe feels as he tells the story of how Logan died and when he finally watches as Logan falls. “We watched him drop… no forgiveness, no special dispensation for flesh, or bravery, or kindness. Only ruthless gravity. ” The raw emotion in this section of the chapter is incredible.
The fact that they could have prevented Logan’s death if they had just hung on a few minutes longer haunts both us, as the readers, and Joe himself. The interesting part comes at the end of the chapter when we start to get ‘what if’ running through our heads. What would have happened if they had stayed on the ropes? What would have happened if someone had taken control and they had worked as a team? These ‘what if’s’ run through our heads and through the character’s heads and make us really think about what we have read here. Therefore this works excellently in creating both interest and suspense in this chapter.
In conclusion I think McEwan is very successful in creating interest and suspense in this chapter. The techniques he uses are very interesting and effective, they really made me think. The emotion in the chapter is really interesting and makes you think a lot. You just really feel the need to read on all the way through the chapter, you need to know exactly what happens and when you do you feel strangely contented. It really gives you something to think about after you stop reading. In my opinion, this is one of the best opening chapters I have ever read.