While Atonement is the most acute of McEwans books in its exploration of ethics, particularly the moral impact of storytelling, the books that succeeded it also foreground the condition of (authorial) moral responsibility and empathetic understanding. Though arranged against an entirely different backdrop, that of terrorism and the looming war in Iraq, Sunday (2005), McEwan's a-day-in-the-life novel, further examines the boundaries of empathetic proposal and id, personified by the novel's protagonist, Henry Perowne, an accomplished, liberal-minded, and down-to-earth middle-aged neurosurgeon.
Standing vast awake at the window of his bedroom in the small time of the morning hours of Sunday, 15 February 2003, having been inexplicably drawn from his bed, Perowne (himself an imaginary, invented being and so area of the literary task) shows on the role of fiction in contemporary culture and concludes that he will not "desire to be a spectator of other lives, of imaginary lives, [. . . ] and [that] it interests him less to have the world reinvented. He wants it explained. The times are bizarre enough. Why make things up?" This passage sets the build and frames the 'plan' of the novel, anchoring it in a global that displays us with such appalling spectacles as that of 9/11, a world where the imagine a peaceful order has shattered, as damage, terrorism, and war make the news of the new millennium, and stress permeates the modern collective consciousness. Suddenly, Perowne ponders, "the nineties want like an innocent ten years, " and this condition of the world lends legitimacy to Perowne's query about the power of narratives to act as reliable sources of knowledge.
Nevertheless, Perowne's insufficient interest in getting the world reinvented also betrays an imaginative incapability, and his unwillingness to assume outside the bounds of his own experience has serious repercussions in the book. He's indisputably right that books cannot furnish absolute answers or totalising explanations of the world. What it can still do, as McEwan implies by orchestrating the culminating world of the novel, where his protagonist is taught a lessons on the storyteller's electric power over your brain of the reader/listener, is condition the chaos of human experience, articulate the moral confusion in our lives by conversing ideas through the initial mediation between storyteller and reader, and, in the words of the American critic Kenneth Burke, provide us with "equipment for living. "
Perowne's philistine reflections prior to the window, activated by his view of an obviously burning cargo planes from his bedroom home window, mistaken, out of an excess of rationalism, for a meteor or a comet visiting over the London sky, create him from the outset as an individual with a small view of the world and limited vicarious sympathy. At the perception of the aircraft ablaze, Perowne is not changed by any thoughts of compassion for the travellers, but simply witnesses the picture "from the exterior, from afar, " as a spectator of other lives, reminiscing about his unease during his post 9/11 vacations, when "[l]ike most passengers, outwardly subdued by the monotony of air travel, he often let us his thoughts range across the possibilities while sitting, strapped down and docile, before a packaged food" and "[p]lastic fork in hand, he often amazing things how it could go. " If in Atonement most of the key events in the first area of the novel are glimpsed by way of a window, a mirror, dim light, or warmth haze, and the narrator of Enduring Love spends enough time searching the screen for his mad stalker, in Sunday, McEwan also makes Henry watch the plane arena (and other succeeding occasions) through his bedroom window, a construction that symbolically (and practically) encloses his perspective, further filtered by the low light before dawn, thus increasing the impression of the protagonist's limited understanding. Furthermore, Henry is convinced of the precision of his eye-sight, which, we live told, "appears to have sharpened" ; and, a few internet pages later, we learn that "he doesn't immediately understand what he perceives, though he feels he will. " Besides blurring Henry's eyesight, the home window places a physical and metaphorical display between your world and the hero, confronted with hazards still abstract and distant, but soon to carefully turn concrete and personal.
Even though reviews of Saturday were virtually all favourable (Peter Kemp says in The Weekend Times that "written with superb exactness, sophisticated, suspenseful, reflective, and humane, this book about a specialist on the mind by an expert on the human mind reinforces his [McEwan's] position as the supreme novelist of his era, " and Mark Lawson in The Guardian praises "the global aspect" that McEwan gives to "the textures of every day life" and deems the novel "subtle enough to be taken as a warning against either intervention or against isolationism" ), a few reviewers have assumed that Henry's self-serving reviews are identical to prospects to that your novel subscribes. John Banville, for occasion, dismisses Saturday as "a dismayingly bad book, " due to the fact he calls for the protagonist's self-indulgence to be favoured by the author of the book. Within a similarly scathing review, Jennifer Szalai argues that McEwan "has written a profoundly flawed publication, " "a narrative shuffled along by way of a hyperrational protagonist, " also mistaking Perwone's trend to rationalise occasions for the author's prospect. And in another negative review, Keith Gessen phone calls the book "a product of liberal guilt 'the proven fact that things are more real and more painful somewhere else and our actions don't have much regarding them, " and the novelist person who, "like the cosmetic surgeon,  will not make it his business to reach outside the bounds of his particular activity" of creating "carefully structured novels in which individuals acquire their comeuppance" and that of being "the consummate professional novelist" he has become.
What these critics neglect to recognize when they ground their understandings of the novel on the author's implicit acceptance of his hero's parochialism is the skilfulness of McEwan's career of free indirect talk, which combines top features of third-person with first-person direct speech and takes us in to the protagonist's head in a manner evocative of Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway and Wayne Joyce's Ulysses (novels with which Sunday also stocks the one-day timeframe). You should, McEwan depicts the particulars of Henry Perowne's everyday existence somewhat warmly at times, not concealing from the audience that he sees Perowne agreeable enough (he confesses in an interview that, although he will not identify with his hero's way of thinking and surely will not reveal his loathing for literature, he provided Henry Perowne some of the information on his own presence: his house, his fish stew formula, the squash game titles, qualities of his partner and children, his romance with his mom, etc. ).
Nevertheless, the split focalised narrative (half internal, half external) used by McEwan throughout the novel calls not limited to our understanding for and familiarity with Henry's feelings, but also for our detachment from and questioning of these. Our possible fondness of Henry is merely the effect in our identification with his restless craving for self-justification and hypothesis-testing (he's characterised in the novel as "an habitual observer of his own moods, " susceptible to musings about his mental techniques), rather than of our own endorsement of his mindset. If his reflections strike a chord around, for the reason that they lay bare a human being haunted by the impulse of justifying his life. If McEwan has chosen Perowne as a focaliser-protagonist for his book, it is not out of understanding for his ways, but to expose the human beings' habit of sharing with self-persuasive reports about their lives that take into account the people they have come to be.
Set in central London, the novel is tied in to the British certainty, though it makes a lay claim to cosmopolitanism from the outset by attracting on a passing from Saul Bellow's Herzog which functions as its epigraph. Inside the passing, Bellow's protagonist increases the widespread question of "what this means to be a man. In a very city. In a century. In transition. In a very mass. Changed by knowledge. Under organised electric power. Subject to remarkable controls. In a very condition triggered by mechanisation. Following the late failing of radical desires. " As Hezog concludes, it means living "in a world that was no community and devalued the individual, " "made the self applied negligible, " and "permitted savagery and barbarism in its great towns. " In addition, it means becoming more liberal, and profiting from "the stunning supermachinery" of scientific breakthroughs. But most importantly, it means assuming responsibility for being "a child of this mass and a sibling to all the others. " The responsibility of these privileges and responsibilities subjugates both Bellow's and McEwan's protagonists. Herzog has consistent visions of being crushed and is anguished "[b]ecause he let the whole world press after him. " Also, Henry Perowne is distressed by the persistent infringement of open public events upon private life, and sceptical about the likelihood "to enjoy an hour's entertainment without this invasion, this contamination from the public domain. " Yet, as Sunday evinces, slicing oneself off from the globe is both unwise and harmful.
How restful it must once have been, in another age, to be profitable and think that an all-knowing supernatural power had allotted visitors to their stations in life. And not see how the belief offered your own success 'a form of anosognosia, a good psychiatric term for a lack of awareness of one's own condition. Now we think we do see, just how do things stand? Following the ruinous experiments of the lately deceased century, after a lot vile behavior, so many fatalities, a queasy agnosticism has resolved around these matters of justice and redistributed wealth.
He also looks for shelter in the small, simple, private pleasures of life: in a casino game of squash along with his co-worker; in music 'Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Coltrane, and Miles Davis, artists to whom he features "a ruthless, almost inhuman element of self-enclosed efficiency" ; in the works of Rothko, Parker, Hodgkin, and Einstein, betraying his penchant for the abstract; in baking his favourite recipe of seafood stew; in the "biological hyperspace" of love-making with his better half; in his child Theo's playing his latest melody; in carrying out neurosurgery, which gives him "the pleasure of knowing precisely what he's doing" and allows him to live in a "pure present, " in "a imagine absorption that has dissolved all sense of your time" ; in Darwin's Origin of Species. He is not totally devoid of cosmetic sense, but his tastes reveal his tastes for perfection, tranquility, faultless mechanisms (such as the brain), for attaining "a coherent world, everything fitting at last. "
While jogging his chores around London in his comfortable cream-upholstered magic Mercedes S 500 ("a sensuous part of what he respect as his overgenerous talk about of the world's goods" ), "shamelessly [. . . ] enjoy[ing] metropolis from inside [. . . ] where in fact the air is filtered and hi-fi music confers pathos on the humblest details, " secluding himself within the bubble of unreality and obstructing whatever is not desired out of his world picture, he nevertheless looks for his moral compass by working to deal with the complexness of residing in today's city, but fails to reach a truly empathetic understanding of the folks around him, his endeavour being partially hindered by his insufficient appreciation of imaginative genius and his tendency to understand other people through neurological knowledge and logical observation rather than imaginative compassion.
Theo, his more creative son, is a lot more perceptive and can intuit the risk in his father's encounter with Baxter (a avenue troublesome whom Perowne diagnoses as suffering from the neurodegenerative disease 'Huntington's chorea, and with whom he has a hostile confrontation due to a minor car crash that occurs while he is driving to meet a colleague for their weekly squash match). He reminds his father: "You humiliated him. You must watch that.  These neighborhood folks can be proud. "
His girl Daisy, an aspiring poet, does not keep secret her belief that he's "a coarse, unredeemable materialist [. . . ] lack[ing] an creativity. " She will her best to refine his literary understanding by suggesting classic books like Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary to him, but literature, in Perowne's impression, owns only a referential function, and Daisy's reading lists do only convince him that "fiction is too humanly flawed, too sprawling and hit-and-miss to motivate uncomplicated marvel at the magnificence of human being ingenuity, of the impossible dazzlingly achieved, " missing the purity and abstraction of music, painting, and science. He relegates fiction writing to the field of fantasising, over it as basically an undertaking through which "a whole life could be covered by a few hundred internet pages 'bottled like homemade chutney. "
Against the study of books, he pits his rationalist prospect of life, and what he feels to be the supremacy of methodical discovery. His reason is the fact that "[a] man who makes an attempt to help ease the miseries of failing minds by repairing brains is bound to respect the material world, its restrictions, and what it can sustain-consciousness, no less [H]e is aware of it for a quotidian reality, the mind is what the mind, mere subject, performs. " To his brain, knowledge is the grand narrative that sustains stability; therefore, he depends on his clinical knowledge to make sense of the world out of its chaos in an attempt to alleviate his panic, but his methodical reasoning narrows his point of view and makes him susceptible to a deficit of empathy. Realizing from the windows two teenage girls quarrelling in the square, he can only just read the field from a medical point of view, describing one of these as having "amphetamine-driven formication" or "exogenous opioid-induced histamine reaction. "
His profession as a neurosurgeon will serve as a metaphor for a world suffering from a terminal disease which needs curing. McEwan's accurate explanations of Perowne's consummate skill in neurosurgery evoke the power that science must explain, ease, and get rid of serious maladies. Surgery may also have unexpected capabilities as it facilitated his face with his better half Rosalind when he was a young intern. Yet knowledge cannot secure total success: his mother suffers from vascular dementia which slowly but surely degenerates her mental faculties, and Baxter's Huntington's disease is a neurological condition that is only granted a brief remission through surgery. Knowledge does not keep all the answers, and it inevitably comes into discord with other 'truths, ' such as those appreciated by skill and religious beliefs.
Nonetheless, Perowne debunks spiritual faith as being, like literature, basically "issues, or a concept, of reference. An excess of the subjective, the purchasing of the world consistent with your need, an failure to contemplate your own unimportance. " He's a "professional reductionist" who is convinced that misfortune is stencilled in "invisible folds and kinks of identity, written in code, at the level of molecules, " which no communal justice can make amends for misery. His feelings about politics and ethics are ambivalent: reflecting on the march against the 2003 invasion of Iraq after which he results in on the street during his errands in the town and from which he chooses to turn away, he becomes aware of his failure to "feel, as the marchers themselves probably can, that they have an exclusive hang on moral discernment. " Daisy intuits his double standard, blaming her daddy of equivocation: "You're stating let the war go ahead, and in five years if it works out you're for this, and when doesn't, you're not responsible. " His hesitations are those of a cultivated man who's aware of the risks of both action and non-involvement. He's worried about the destiny of Iraqis through his companionship with a former patient, an exiled Iraqi professor, and also calls for really his children's concerns about the warfare, but, as Andrew Foley points out in his critical article, in spite of his "concern about the talk about of the entire world, " Perowne remains dissociated from the risks and tribulations of modern reality, as though he lacked "an authentic sense of imaginative empathy for those less lucky than himself. "
The street is okay, and the town, grand accomplishment of the living and all the deceased who've ever resided here, is fine too, and robust. It won't easily allow itself to be damaged. It's too good to release. Life in they have steadily improved above the centuries for many people, despite the junkies and beggars now. The air is way better, and the salmon are leaping in the Thames, and otters are going back. At every level, materials, medical, intellectual, sensual, for many people it has improved upon.
Nevertheless, despite his contentment along with his privileged upper middle income life and self-assurance in scientific improvement, Henry Perowne's experience a state of panic, fuelled, on the one hands, by his disengagement with the fates of other folks, and, on the other, by living in a global replete with occurrences of violence, his bogus sense of security being shaken when he is out on the streets: "He seems culpable somehow, but helpless too. These are contradictory terms, but not quite, and it's the degree of their overlap, their types of expressing the same thing from different angles, which he needs to comprehend. Culpable in his helplessness. Helplessly culpable. "
His stress and anxiety parallels an over-all, collective one, manifested through the close concentrate on London, which, in spite of its evident robustness and glitter, is portrayed as a prone, fear-ridden city, under the regular menace of terrorist problems (thus anticipating the London bombings that occurred in July 2005, a couple of months after the novel's release). This latent assault threatens to destabilise the order of Perowne's comfortable life, which is exposed as precarious, and put him out of his almost complacent contentment.
When he eventually realises that the fiery subject he recognizes in the sky is, in fact, the wing of your airplane, Perowne is horrified, the landscape evoking images of large-scale catastrophes, as he starts off to imagine information on the victims' last moments on board, "the screaming in the cabin partially muffled by that deadening acoustic, the fumbling in carriers for phones and last words, the flight personnel in their terror clinging to remembered fragments of method. " The plane event reminds him of Schr¶dinger's Cat, which, "hidden from view in a protected box, is either still alive, or has just been killed by a arbitrarily activated hammer reaching a vial of poison. Before observer lifts the cover from the box, both opportunities, alive kitten and dead cat, exist hand and hand, in parallel universes, equally real" ; nevertheless, he dismisses the test as just "another exemplory case of a issue of guide, " and alternatively cynically concludes that "regardless of the passengers' destination, if they are frightened and safe, or useless, they will have arrived by now. "
Theo manages to regulate his stress about world affairs by embracing the viewpoint of 'small thinking, ' concentrating on the immediate pleasures of having a new girlfriend, making a fresh song, or taking a snowboarding trip: "Whenever we go on about the big things, the politics situation, global warming, world poverty, everything looks really bad, with nothing improving, nothing to anticipate. But when I think small, closer in [. . . ] then it appears great. " Perowne's mother is covered from be anxious by her old age and senile dementia. Yet, as Richard Rorty argues in his overview of the novel, McEwan does not urge his readers to believe small, but reminds them they are prone to do it. As a responsible and sensible adult, Henry Perowne has no other option than to increase his empathic involvement in the world's moral tangle. Empathy becomes increasingly more onerous, forcing him to see things from the point of view of his mom, his children, his Iraqi patient, and even seafood. As he goes to the fishmonger, he shows on the feelings of the seafood he designs to cook for dinner, and reasons that "[t]his is the growing complication of the present day condition, the expanding circle of moral sympathy. Not only distant peoples are our brothers and sisters, but foxes too, and lab mice, and now the fish. " The answer to individual success, he concludes, is based on sympathetic selectiveness. (In an interview, McEwan identifies this selective compassion as an inevitable compartmentalisation, necessary if an example may be to cope with life in a global where one can come across suffering anywhere: "We are able to be desperately, truly worried about the misery created by the tsunami in the center of the Indian Ocean, then twenty minutes later we're having a nice time drinking a glass of wine with a friend. These things go ahead containers. " )
But his selectiveness also extends to human beings, and it is precisely this failing to empathise imaginatively with other people that will turn out to be a potential source of discord for Perowne. Without delay, he is thrown out of his smugness by the fender bender and its consequences. It is only when he must face violence that his frame of mind of self-contentment is challenged. By diagnosing Baxter with Huntington's disease, "biological determinism in its purest form, " Perowne handles to flee unharmed from the come across, yet humiliates Baxter by uncovering this weakness in front of his cronies, which eventually may cause the ruffian to get revenge by pursuing Henry home, keeping his family hostage with a blade, and intimidating to rape his girl. It is this arbitrary event, this immediate intrusion of the contingent into Henry's safe and smug presence 'his clash with Baxter 'that allows the author to bring fates into collision and call into question the self's potential to deal compassionately with the other.
It's been a tough week, a disturbed night time, a hard game. Without looking, he discovers the button that secures the car. The door locks are triggered in rapid collection, little resonating clunks, four semiquavers that lull him further. A historical evolutionary problem: the necessity to sleep, the fear of being ingested. Resolved at last by central locking.
McEwan includes other displays symptomatic of Henry's inability of empathy in the book, highlighting his protagonist's unpreparedness to summon the empathic understanding granted to those that can read a landscape from multiple perspectives. Thus, for illustration, he persuades himself that it's advisable to turn off it and turn away from other's misery.
The idea of imaginative empathy, relating to which a cognitive practice capacitates moral sense, extended upon in the first subchapter, is good attitudes McEwan endows both Briony Tallis and Henry Perowne. Whereas Briony's fault lies in an excess of creativity that goads her to fictionalise life at the expense of actuality, Perowne suffers from a deficit of imaginative imagination, counterbalanced by way of a glut of rationality. Both methods of behavior have harmful consequences because the proponents of both means of operating in the globe view reality through tinted spectacles that prevent them from acknowledging the individuality (and as a result achieving a larger understanding) of other folks.
Like Atonement, Saturday asks questions about the various competing means of viewing the earth, and Henry's medical reasoning is exposed as inadequate by the end of the novel. When Baxter and his accomplices invade Henry's home and threaten his partner and children, it becomes plain that the goings-on transcend his shaky and self-serving explanatory systems. It really is books (his daughter's reading of an stanza from Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach, " which Perowne, in his philistinism, problems for just one of his daughter's poems) that dispels Baxter's anger, converting him from "lord of terror to astonished admirer, " and will save you the Perownes from the irrational violence that ultimately can't be completely or satisfactorily explained by Henry's modernist technological outlook.
Anxiety consummates within an epiphany of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation as the redemptive vitality of literature is cast after Baxter, disclosing that he's not totally deprived of cosmetic sense and thoughts, and, therefore, he is incapable of doing his acts of cruelty. Although he never comes to understand Baxter totally, Perwone is filled up with guilt for his privileged communal position, to be more genetically lucky, and then for deceiving him with his medical authority and knowledge. He finally makes up for his previous lack of empathic eyesight by bridging the distance between self applied and other, and so rebuilding the novel's moral balance.
Compassion and empathy eventually prove to be important tools, as they allow Henry to accept a greater awareness of self and population, feeding his moral growth. The experience of injury has bred a fresh perspective of compassion and love, that may cause Perowne to choose to use on Baxter, who endured head injury during the confrontation, rather than to pursue charges against him because "Baxter read what Henry never has, and probably never will, despite all Daisy's efforts to educate him. Some nineteenth-century poet  touched off in Baxter a yearning he could barely begin to define. That hunger is his lay claim on life, on the mental lifetime. " Though he never manages to start to see the world through Baxter's sight (he catches only a fugitive glance, as Baxter, handicapped by Theo and Henry, is slipping down the stairs, of the thug's reproof for having excluded him from the culture by casting over him the stigma of disease: "Henry feels he considers in the huge brown eyes a sorrowful accusation of betrayal. He, Henry Perowne, possesses a lot [. . . ] and he has done nothing, given nothing at all to Baxter, who may have so little that's not wrecked by his faulty gene. " ), Perowne starts off to see him as a individual, not merely as a medical case. In addition, he realises that he's in charge of having set in train the occurrences that could have ended in disaster: "Why could he not see that it's dangerous to humble a man as emotionally labile as Baxter? To flee a beating and move on to his squash game. He used or misused his expert to avoid one crisis, and his activities have steered him into another, significantly worse. "
The final arena of the book parallels the opening arena, with Perowne looking from the window, this time around with a improved world view, a new vision of compassion and love. By the end of the day, Perwone no longer feels self-assured, but "timid, susceptible [. . . ] weak and ignorant, scared of the way consequences of an action leap away from your control and breed new situations, new implications, until you're resulted in a location you never imagined and could not choose 'a blade at the throat. " Randomness and brutal actuality have invaded his personal life, this Saturday in his life threatening to become his private 9/11, each day which "will be proclaimed out from all the rest. " He concedes to the frailty of a world where the risk of violence is ever before present and miracles, as Matthew Arnold does indeed in "Dover Beach": what exactly are we to do with our lives since
the world, which seems
To lay before us such as a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor serenity, nor help for pain;
we are here as over a darkling plain
Swept with puzzled alarms of struggle and journey,
Where ignorant armies clash by evening?
In the first section, "The Ethics of Literary Empathy. Fiction as a car for Imagining Oneself as the Other, " we begin from the assumption that empathy and imagination are closely connected in Ian McEwan's fiction, offering wealthy earth for the exploration of moral prices. However, as we aim at demonstrating, neither empathy nor creativity are presented as givens, but instead as opportinity for rendering the infinite honest difficulty, guilt, ambiguity, contingency, and moral dilemmas faced by the individuals.
Drawing on the novelist's own comments on the ethics of fiction as well as the views on literary ethics of a number of visible twentieth century thinkers (Wayne C. Booth, Emmanuel Levinas, Paul Ric"ur, Martha Nussbaum, Richard Rorty, and Iris Murdoch), Subchapter 1. 1. , "Violence as 'Inability of the Imagination' and the Redemptive Value of Empathy, " discusses the partnership between books and ethical theory, with emphasis on the idea of moral responsibility for the other as a basis for an alternative solution ethics. Good above-mentioned scholars' beliefs, McEwan argues that the novel is the most enough literary form for expressing moral views and highlights empathy and dialogue in his approach to morality, which are seen as the aims of any honest relation so when remedies for our self-sufficiency and incapability to identify ourselves as individuals and communicate with other folks. We utilize this view as a starting place for our target at evincing that McEwan's books highlight different facets of authorial habits of empathy, conflict, terrorism, and mental flaws, offering the bottom for balancing violence with potential humanism. Despite visible structural variations, McEwan's two novels printed on the cusp of the new millennium, Atonement (2001) and Sunday (2005), thematise an ethics of empathy, evolving the idea that storytelling exercises our innate convenience of empathy, our capability to take other people's perspectives, even as aim to demonstrate in our readings of each work.
Subchapter 1. 2. , "The Destructive and Therapeutic Powers of Storytelling in Atonement, " examines the novel's concern with the potential risks posed by inhabiting a fictional world, with the amendments that universe grants or loans to its viewers and freelance writers as well as the restrictions it imposes about them. McEwan's writer-protagonists have got both the capacity to impose trauma after themselves and other people and that of fabricating unity out of the chaotic and probably harmful world through moral empathy and responsibility. This subchapter considers the novel's exploration of remarkable happenings that distort and reshape the individuals' existence as a result of misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and misreading, with a view to highlighting the moral implications of sharing with stories and the energy that a article writer has to flex history to her own will.
Subchapter 1. 3. , "The Restrictions of Empathetic Creativeness in Sunday, " centres on the novel's representation of having less an empathetic imagination leading to misunderstandings and traumatic events. Conversely, the capability to picture oneself as another eventually demonstrates a precious tool in the book, costed with redemptive value, empowering a fresh perspective of life. By attracting attention to the power and function of storytelling, McEwan items to the various ways of interpreting the globe, and demonstrates we are confronted with a welter of contradictory yet not mutually exclusive truths, with a plurality of competing narratives, all reflecting coherent worldviews, none of them acquiring a superior position.
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