The Cement Garden Analysis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By dluchau
Words 860
Pages 4
The Cement Garden

The Cement Garden is a traumatic novel by Ian McEwan about a very dysfunctional family in which both parents die leaving their four kids alone in the middle of their transition from childhood to adulthood. It is about these four relatively normal children and the choices they are forced to make in a very dire situation that they cannot escape. We will see how an extremely isolated and claustrophobic narrator can affect how a story is perceived and how fear of the outside world can overrule what one would and should do in such a situation as the one this family is faced with.

The story is narrated by Jack, a teenage boy and second child between Julie and Sue. He has poor personal hygiene, no friends or acquaintances and spends his free time fantasizing about his older sister, Julie, and masturbating. Jack’s father dies of a heart attack in the beginning of the novel. “I did not kill my father, but I sometimes think that I helped him on his way” (page 6, line 1-2). From the very beginning, we are told of how tormented and isolated Jack’s mind is. He feels responsible for the death of his father even though he had nothing to do with it, but he has no one in which he can confide, so instead he becomes extremely isolated and lonely. Everything that happens in the story is told entirely from his point of view. When their father dies, the response from the family is disturbingly silent and unemotional, as we are told nothing of their grieving process or mood. It is not even implied that it is being addressed in the family whatsoever. The family just moves on. Jack is still emotionally isolated from the rest of his family, and the story is filtered from his lonely perspective, which is why it is narrated in such a deeply claustrophobic way. “No one ever came to visit us. Neither my mother nor my father when he was alive had any real friends outside…...

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