Enduring Love Analysis

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Mental disorders and their effects on relationships is a theme that is explored in depth in both Pat Barkers ‘Regeneration’ and Ian McEwan’s ‘Enduring Love’. ‘Regeneration’ explores the consequences of shellshock between suffering soldiers and those around them. Similarly, in ‘Enduring Love’ McEwan examines an unrequited relationship between Jed, who suffers from De Clerembault syndrome, and Joe. Both novels come to the conclusion that relationships are acted out differently due to the impact of a mental disorder on a person. The opening scene of ‘Enduring Love’ is full of emotion and action, as it tells the tale of a ballooning accident. This dramatic opening causes the relationships between Clarissa, Jed and Joe to begin. According to Adam…show more content…
This creates a significant theme throughout the novel and allows conflicts, romance and emasculation to be highlighted as they are all outcomes of the war. Rivers is a neurologist and therefore treats incoming patients who suffer from shell-shock, simply to send them back when they are better. This offers great opportunities to meet new people quickly and intimately. Rivers method is to break each patient down gradually- expressing their feelings and facing up to their fears. ‘Horror and fear were inevitable responses to the trauma of the war and were better acknowledged than supressed.’ This shows that the soldier’s intimacy with Rivers brings out an almost feminine side to the men, which is a major factor in Regeneration since it contradicts their masculine actions they face at war. Emasculation is another vital theme in the novel. One can also interpret emasculation to be another mental disorder in the novel as it leaves the soldiers feeling weaker and incapacitated by their shame. One can explore its effect on relationships by observing the way in which Rivers acts as a father figure to the soldiers who wholly rely on his support and care as their emasculate state leaves them unable to protect themselves from the reality of the horrific war they just faced. The comparison of methods used on the patients, as mentioned before, reconsiders the benefits of the men’s health once recovered. Rivers performs a more critical and emotional method, which encourages the soldiers to talk about their memories and fears of the war, in order to gain a sense of remembrance of themselves and why they are there in the first place -to serve their country. This, although in comparison to Yealland, seems quite reasonable and able; it takes away their sense of masculinity and they therefore appear vulnerable and weak. The war is the reason these
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