A dictionary defines the word addictive as being: wholly devoted to something, a slave to another and in a state of wanting more.
Ian McEwan claimed that he wanted to write an opening chapter that had the same effect as a highly addictive drug. In my opinion he has achieved in doing this. At the end of chapter one the reader is left needing more information about the characters introduced and what tragedy actually occurred.
McEwan took the definition, addictive, and wrote the opening chapter, never forgetting what his objective was.
The opening chapter has to be effective in order to keep the reader interested and to keep them reading. The style of the writer and novel also need to be established and tailored to suit the tastes of anyone that decides to read this novel.
McEwan uses many factors that all contribute towards the effectiveness of the opening chapter. A lot of suspense and tension is used right from the start of the novel, in the first line, "The beginning is simple to mark," which makes you question, the beginning of what exactly? This is a short sentence that is used which draws you in and leaves you wanting to know more. McEwan also creates a lot of tension, "partly protected from a strong, gusty wind," which describes the wind as being an unpredictable, natural force which together conveys a sense of urgency.
The narrator also starts to withhold vital information from the reader to create anxiety from within. "The encounter that would unhinge us was minutes away," the narrator is building up the tension that leads to this huge disaster, but doesn’t just say what is install for him and the other characters. He also hints that the disaster is life changing, "This was the last time that I understood anything clearly at all." The narrator then goes on to describe the atmosphere and events just before the disaster reached them, "I heard what was coming two seconds before it reached us." Which is an innuendo, which McEwan uses a lot throughout this first chapter. The narrator then goes on to describe the wind that day using verbs to describe the strength of it, "transversing" and "hurtling," but before the narrator goes any further he says "Let me freeze the frame," which is media terminology, which too is used quite a lot through this opening chapter. McEwan uses this techniq...
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...t it is ruthless and is used to increase the sense of danger, "Met Office figures. . . . . . it was said of 70 miles per hour." The wind threatens the characters, leaving the reader knowing that disaster is just around the corner.
The idea of a catastrophe is always present throughout the opening chapter. It is used to create excitement in the reader and to fuel the craving of needing more information, "At the inquest" at this point, the reader is left to deal with the fact that, obviously someone died, but it is not yet revealed who - the boy in the basket or Logan. Also, the fact that what happened is life changing, "It was time when other outcomes were still possible." The narrator even says they "Were running towards a catastrophe."
All the points I have considered, all contribute towards creating a stimulating and addictive opening chapter. The main stimulant being, the need for more information. Where the narrator deliberately gives you a hint as to what may happen next, he then takes it away from you, making you want the information more - therefor he has created an addiction. The cause of it, being the first chapter, the only way to cure it, is to finish the novel!
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