Compare and contrast the openings of the novels 'Enduring Love' by Ian McEwan and 'Knowledge of Angels' by J.Patton.

Essay by pinkorchidHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 2004

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Compare and contrast the openings of the novels 'Enduring Love' and 'Knowledge of Angels'. Examine in detail both form and content, and assess the effectiveness of each as a beginning of a novel.

'Enduring Love' by Ian McEwan and 'Knowledge of Angels' by Jill Patton Walsh are two very different novels, concerning very different subject matters, yet both have managed to master capturing the reader's avid attention and imagination in their enthralling openings. One about a catastrophe involving a hot air balloon, another set on a distant Mediterranean island, both novels have the essential components to a compelling introduction. They not only provide the reader with an insight into the novel, but when written in an original and intriguing style, as both these novels have been, the reader becomes drawn in, causing them to read on.

The first line of the two introductions are both equally fascinating.

'Enduring Love' begins with suspense, as the first line, "The beginning was simple to mark", causes the reader to question the beginning of what, exactly? The fact that it is a short, sharp sentence, leaves the reader wanting to know more as it has been established that whatever has happened, will be told in retrospect. Not only is this intriguing, but it is a tool used by McEwan to cause the reader to continue reading, in order to find out what has happened. In comparison, the first line of 'Knowledge of Angels' is entirely different in its approach to the reader. 'Enduring Love' starts with a statement, whereas in 'Knowledge of Angels', the writer's presence is immediately known, from the opening line "Suppose you are contemplating an island", the writer directly addresses the reader. This is effective in inducing the reader into imagining an island,