skip to main content
Primo Search

The intensity of the event: the impact of Ian McEwan's distended moments in 'Atonement,' 'Saturday' and 'On Chesil Beach'

Courtney, Hannah Elyse, English, Media, & Performing Arts, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW

2010

  • Title:
    The intensity of the event: the impact of Ian McEwan's distended moments in 'Atonement,' 'Saturday' and 'On Chesil Beach'
  • Author/Creator: Courtney, Hannah Elyse, English, Media, & Performing Arts, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW
  • Subjects: Genette; McEwan; Slowed scene; Time theory; Gerard Genette; Free Indirect Discourse; Character consciousness; Distended moment; Narrative time duration; Flow of consciousness; Thought; Quoted thought; Narrated thought; Psychonarration; Contemporary British Fiction; Contemporary Fiction; English; Atonement; On Chesil Beach; Saturday; Literature; Ian McEwan
  • Resource type: Thesis
  • Type of thesis: Masters
  • Date: 2010
  • Awarding institution: University of New South Wales. English, Media, & Performing Arts
  • Description: Ian McEwan has been a prolific and highly successful author – both critically and in the popular market – since the 1970s. Over that time his work has not remained stagnant – his style morphing as he explored different literary concepts and techniques. McEwan’s early works gave him a ‘shock horror’ label – those who read his early short stories and novels came to expect the repugnant base elements of humanity (such as murder and incest) that filled his pages. However, McEwan’s style has indeed altered with time, and this thesis argues for a ‘late’ McEwan style – that found within his early twenty-first century novels. These novels – 'Atonement,' 'Saturday' and 'On Chesil Beach' – marked McEwan’s entry into the mainstream, and with this came a new signature technique. This thesis closely examines these three works, exploring the advent of the ‘McEwan distended moment’. Each novel contains (at least) one pinnacle scene in the telling of which McEwan expands the moment, swelling the narrative time duration and acutely focusing readerly attention on the mind of the focalised character in their moment of personal crisis or import. Utilising an in-depth structuralist approach to technical textual analysis, combined with theories of narrative exploration of character consciousness, and narrative time theories (specifically the work of Gerard Genette), the nature of these distended moments is closely examined. This thesis argues that McEwan engages elements of traditional novelistic, modernist and postmodernist techniques in order to produce a new (perhaps unique) combination during these pinnacle scenes. Specifically, it is revealed that in these distended moments, the realisation of 'slowed scene' aids the in-depth exploration of character consciousness (an expansion of the modernist ��flow of consciousness’) within the moving moment of personal consequence.
  • Supervisor: Murphet, Julian, English, Media, & Performing Arts, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW,Dawson, Paul, English, Media, & Performing Arts, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW
  • Language: English
  • Rights: http://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/copyright; http://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/copyright
  • Print Availability: T/2010/214 (Ask at Level 2 Help Zone, UNSW Library)

Searching Remote Databases, Please Wait