The three central protagonists in Enduring Love could be said to represent science, art and religion. In the light of this statement, how far does this count for the conflict between the characters?

Essay by dath00daCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2004

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(Enduring Love by Ian Mc Ewan) Love that endures is a main theme in the novel, and the strongest force in existence which has the capability of bridging those whose outlooks are diametrically opposite, for example, art, science and religion (Clarissa, Parry and Jed). However, this only bridges them, it does not resolve any differences they may have in terms of perspective. I do not think it possible to answer the above question without touching on why these three topics are diametrically opposite. I intend to answer this as well as what the characters' differences are, and if they spring from their own opposing outlooks.

Paradoxically, the characteristics of art, science and religion that cause them to be diametrically opposed are discreet, yet at the same time obvious. The character of Joe represents science within the novel. Because of his scientific characteristics, he believes everything must be based on fact.

He has an overriding need to establish facts in order to see his 'truths' and believes only in rational actions, particularly in human beings. However, this theory, along with many of his, is flawed. In trying to understand the chain reaction that occurs within the novel, he himself acts irrationally and with genuine feeling, but of course, does not recognise what he previously referred to as 'irrational' when he experiences these feelings himself. For example, in the very first chapter when Joe meets Clarissa from the airport:

' thirty-five minutes I experienced more than fifty theatrical happy endings, each one with the appearance of being slightly less well acted than the one before...and suspected that even the children were being insincere. I was just wondering how convincing I myself could be in greeting Clarissa...immediately my detachment vanished, and I called out her name with all the...