Childhood in a Loop: Narrative Experiment and the Idea of Childhood in Two Novels by Ian McEwan

Kuszinger, Rebeka
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The most recurring motifs of the works of contemporary British author, Ian McEwan is childhood which is a booming topic of mainstream English fiction. Although their historical and political background are different, both analysed novels – The Child in Time (1987) and Atonement (2001) - revolve around the topic of childhood and innocence, while exploring the inaccessibility of these ideas with special narrative strategies, capturing the motif of childhood in a time-loop. The starting point of my presentation was that the motif of childhood and the special narrative strategies are related in McEwan’s works. Although it lacks child characters, childhood as such stands is in a central position in The Child in Time, which is written in a non-linear narrative. Meanwhile, Atonement constructs a parallel between nostalgia for the long-lost innocence of Englishness and the nostalgia for childhood innocence, reinforced with metafictional elements.
narration, childhood, The Child in Time, Atonement, Ian McEwan