May 6, 2013
Ian McEwan believed that relationships not just romantically, but family-wise as well, was an important message that developed throughout three of the novels – Atonement, The Cement Garden, and Sweet Tooth. These relationships help develop the characters to become who they are and will become. Everyone is brought up differently and in these books his readers can see how human interactions romantically or not can affect a person and their decisions. People dead or alive can play mental games with anyone’s emotions and can even come to the point where their emotions pushes people to isolate themselves from others or about how just one experience of one’s life can affect the decisions they make later in life towards people and themselves.
In “Sweet Tooth”, it’s a different kind of novel that McEwan has written because the tone isn’t what the title makes it out to be – it’s the total opposite and isn’t so “sweet” at all. The tone is a sour taste to the reader because of the tricks he plays which serve as metaphorical weapons of mass destruction. It’s based on a mental game between the main protagonist, Serena Frome, a secret spy agent who is silenced because the person she is targeting is the person who she fell in love with. And with that, the reader is left with a jaw-dropped mouth of McEwan’s clever plots and twists when least expected which gives him the title of an “Author-God” who has a natural gift of storytelling in fiction.
Later on in the book, Serena leads a new life, still as a spy, but then falls in love with a different person, a teacher now, and it goes to show how her relationship with the teacher, Tom Haley, is something very important to her because being a spy means you can’t have any relationship with anyone for they can be targeted at any time and used against you. Tom knows about Serena’s life and nearing the end of the book, accepts her for who she is and accepts the relationship they have together and ends up getting married at the end of the novel, despite the differences they have. Bibliography: http://m.npr.org/news/Arts+%26+Life/164985216
“The Cement Garden” is an eye-popping novel where the relationship between four siblings, Julie, Jack, Sue, and Tom - who killed their mother because their father had died too, leads to unexpected and disturbing sequences throughout the novel. Because of the tragic events that happened with their father and the murder of their mother, they grew up emotionally isolated from each other and from the outside world. After killing their mother, the four of them have a hard time coping with her death, and now the two oldest of the four have the burden of taking care of each other and the younger two, Sue and Tom. “Don’t you think we ought to tell someone?” (McEwan, 65). Julie comments about the decision Jack made about keeping their mother’s death a secret. Trying so desperately to keep the authorities from finding out about their mother’s death status so they won’t be taken into foster care, they stick together – even though it means committing incest. The dysfunction of the family is inevitable because of having no parents, no outside world connection, and only having each other.
Bibliography - http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-the-cement-garden/themes.html In “Atonement” the main character and protagonist, Briony Tallis has an older sister Cecilia Tallis who both are from a very high-class, prominent, wealthy English-family. One day, Cecilia is spotted by Briony from afar flirting with a servant-boy, Robbie Turner, and a very important vase is broken while the two of them frolic about. “You idiot... You realize that's probably the most valuable thing we own?” (McEwan, 35) Ceclia remarks as the glass shatters into millions of pieces in front of them. Robbie comments with a, “Not anymore it isn’t.”(McEwan, 35). We see this as the vase being a metaphor for Cecilia’s virginity and purity, broken by Robbie. Upon seeing…