The Theme of Obsession in Enduring Love and The Collector
Both John Fowles in The Collector and Ian McEwan in Enduring Love use complex symbols and metaphors to expose the theme of obsession. In Enduring Love, the opening events and metaphor of the balloon act as a foreshadowing device for obsession. This is shown by John Logan’s laudable but obsessive refusal to let go of the rope which drags him further away from safe ground and the sanity that it represents. This idea is also analogous to all obsessive actions which unfold from this ‘pinprick on the time map’ such as Joe and Jed’s mutual obsession and Jean Logan’s obsession with her husband’s death. In Enduring Love, the symbol of balloon is an inanimate object whereas The Collector’s main symbol is the butterfly. In The Collector, this symbol is more of a recurrent motif and not something the reader can trace as the beginning of obsession. However, it still acts as the metaphor and pre-figurative device through which the reader can infer Miranda’s future including her capture and imprisonment. The visual aspect of the butterfly and the concept of pinning it down to spread its wings and then photograph it from every angle for “science” definitely finds shocking visual parallels in Clegg’s obsessive behaviour, ‘I took her till I had...
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