On Chesil Beach Irony

On Chesil Beach Irony

The guidebook for young and virgin brides

As Florence was inexperienced in all aspects of marriage questions, she had a book “which was supposed to be helpful to young brides”. The book (to paraphrase McEwan) was written in cheery tone and had many illustrations which should be useful for young ladies. The content of the book was quite sexual and some phrases offended her intelligence, particularly those one concerning entrances : “Not long before he enters her . . .” Or “Now at last he enters her.” And “Happily, soon after he has entered her . . .”. Florence couldn’t understand why she is obliged to transform herself for Edward into “a kind of portal or drawing room through which he might process”. This ironic description of her “greenness” is called to show her attitude to the sex as a disgusting obligation rather than a natural process.

The easy way to arrive in swollen state

So, it is clear that Florence doesn’t want to have sex with Edward because the only thought that she will be touched in intimate regions by someone, even by the person she loves, terrified her. But at the same time, she loves children and wants to have one. So, she thought that it would be great and very comfortable for her to arrive in this “swollen state” by magic, like the mother of Jesus. This irony as vivid as the Sun, highlights the childish character of a girl who is afraid to become a woman.

Who wants to be entered?

As the reader can notice, the narrator uses irony mainly when telling about Florence and her sex-phobia. She tried to convince herself that there is nothing bad in sex and it may even be a pleasure and may bring her satisfaction, but she couldn’t fool herself. The book was telling about mucous membrane,” and the sinister and glistening “glans.” And it scared her pretty much because she didn’t want to be ”penetrated” or “entered”. This irony expresses the idea that Sex with Edward could not be the summation of her joy but the price she must pay for it.

If only eating a sticky cherry were all that was required

Here is one more brilliant irony concerning the question of sex. Edward longed to have Florence and all her moves and gestures, even innocent one, were driving him crazy. When they were having a dinner at their wedding night, Florence decided to flirt with Edward and sucked the cherry from his hand and chewed it. This moment was so sexy that he hardly pressured his desire to have her right here and right now. But eating a sticky cherry wasn’t enough for Edward (unfortunately for Florence) although it was pretty much for his wife. The irony expresses Florence attitude to sex and all what is concerned with it.

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