should recall the fact that she is a military commander in managing her dolls “under strict instructions” (McEwan, Atonement 5). Her room is the only tidy one in the whole upstairs house.
Probably the focalizer of the novel is trying to pepper the text with some literary sense when it calls the thirteen-year-old girl’s loud rehearsals as surprising to her parents. A teenager girl, at the age of Briony, may have many secrets and imaginary fantasies, about which she might not even be willing to talk to her family, let alone performing them in the theatre and rehearsing her thoughts aloud for her family. Her bold practices are not just adored because she is the younger cute kid of the family, but in fact are acclaimed because she is reiterating the family constraints. The didacticism and the structural ideological lessons learnt and inscribed well in the plays are the real reasons behind all the parental lionizations.
The play she has written called The Trials of Arabella is nothing but an externalization of the hidden web of ideas that she has acquired from her little society. She is at an age of crave to explore the world around, and all the means she has are her family and their few friends. Where is the source of the idea that a love affair must be restrained to the social conventions of marriage? What is the force behind the social belief that a person having a sexual affair with a beloved/lover and writing about it in a personal letter is a maniac? This is a proper space where a doctrine of ideology is reigning.
A simple question here can make everything clear for the readers of Atonement. What is the Little Briony so fiercely defending like a soldier? What is deceiving her to conduct such brutal deeds? She did whatever she could, from writing a didactic play to reporting to the police and revealing her sister’s personal letter. Why? What was she defending? Probably in the complex web of ideas in the little society where Briony was living in, it is the Doctrine, that a marriage out of the wedlock is an original sin and is to be harshly prevented. Briony is, one might claim, the child of that very doctrine and what she does in ruining the sweet love affair between her sister and her lover is nothing but the product of the very complex web of ideas.
The complex web of ideology is working until the last moments of the story when Briony, the seventy-seven years old famous author, much more conscious of her social restrictions, cannot even publish the story of the people whose lives she has ruined or at least believes to have. The web of ideological ideas in the section “London 1999” (McEwan, Atonement 351-72) becomes even much more complicated, where Briony is forced to change the ending of her story in a fictional way in order to get it published. And, that is probably the reason why the final pages of the novel are full of unanswered questions. She blames herself and the cousins, Marshals, for the catastrophes in their family, but she does not express the fact that it has been the hidden web of social conventions, the defective court and the global war that made their tragedy so unbearable.
Žižek in his article “The Specter of Ideology” published in the book Mapping Ideology explicates that the doctrine of ideology is “destined to convince us of its ‘truth’, yet actually serving some unavowed particular power interest” (7). The ‘unavoewed particular power interest’ is probably the unnamed social restraints. Accordingly, McEwan’s, or fictionally Briony’s, narrative does not refer to the truths behind Briony’s actions and emphasizes on the curious and authoring nature of the teenager more than anything. Only at the end of the novel the narrator says: “Their love. Neither Briony nor war had destroyed it. This was what soothed her…” (McEwan, Atonement 394). And the idea is true in the sense that Briony and the war have both been ideological tools of the ruling system and the reigning powers.
The same complex web of ideas is at work in Solar. Michael, due to his lack (that will be discussed later in the chapter) is potentially ready to grasp and materialize an ideology. He is perfectly caught in the very complex web that is granted probably by a religious archetype, the society, the media or the political system. He is initially not really so fanatical of the climate change and the global warming. But, the media background, the establishment of the Center for exploring the sources of the renewable energy, the former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s comments on the issue and his appointment of a new minister, and all the subsequent surrounding voices led him to the belief that the world is in danger of collapse, and that probably he is a savior (McEwan, Solar 16-17).
In the novel, it is said that the issue of “living at the end of the days” (ibid 16) is not a new idea and that “there was an Old Testament ring to the forewarnings” (ibid). In this sentence at the beginning of the novel, McEwan is probably referring to the Holy Bible’s Book of Revelation (The Holy Bible) as the initial reference-point of the modern man coming across the issue of apocalyptism. Then, one might claim, the current global problems with the help of the media and governmental manipulations have all added a great weight to the old religious subject. The weight is so great that scientists are also haunted by the idea and are going after it. In fact, the complex web behind the ideological issue is so well doctrinated that it could catch the attention of scientists from the whole globe.
One should note that it does not mean there is zero truth behind the idea that global warming can cause catastrophic problems to the earth and to people’s lives. But, the basic Žižekian definition for the critique of ideology is to excavate the truth behind the ideological issue as well as the ideological doctrines at work there. Here, the ideological manipulation made by the powers is on the focus and not the reality of global warming. Žižek, quoting Neomi Klein’s book, The Shock Doctrine, says: “global capitalism exploits catastrophes to get rid of ‘old’ social constraints and impose its agenda on the ‘clean state’ created by the disaster” (Žižek, Living in the End Times 329).
In Solar, the issue of global warming is the main problem. The people’s minds, the media and the capitalist government treat it in the way that ideologies are doctrinated. Global warming is attached to the apocalyptic ideas in order to be manipulated at the level of a purely ideological disaster and then to lose its initial definition. As the result of the ideological manipulation, the globally warming world, with all the disasters it might be exposed to, seems totally natural and tolerable for the people of the clean state. Another reason mentioned in the book for such a manipulation is that the government agencies are benefiting from the current fossil fuel consumption: they “had much to fear from the kind of free energy that his machine (Michael’s solar machine) would deliver, for it would close off an important tax resource” (McEwan, Solar 17).
At the beginning of the novel, the issue of global warming and the ecological crisis seem, like horrible dangers, jeopardizing the earth, but at the end of the novel the important issue is the process of science with giving very little attention to the issue of ecological crisis. In contrast to his initial lectures on the importance of the global warming as the prime issue of humanity, twelve pages before the end of the book, Michael says to Bernard: “In our democratic times, Mr Bernard, science remains a hierarchical affair, unnamable to leveling” (ibid 268). And near the last 50 or more pages of the novel there is almost no significant talk of the initially mentioned danger of the apocalypse to come.
Michael, from the beginning until almost the end of the novel, is following this ideological doctrine. Some comments in the text show that he is even conscious of some aspects of the ideological manipulations. He is tired of the talks of the world in peril. He dislikes the politicians commenting on the issue with such enthusiasm and believes that “injustice and calamity animated them (politicians), it was their milk, their lifeboat, (and) it pleasured them” (ibid 36).
The question, then, is that why he keeps pursuing the idea? There can possibly be two answers to this question. The quote from John Updike’s Rabbit is Rich in the beginning of the novel can best reflect McEwan’s idea, and show that he is aware of the ideological manipulations over the issue of apocalyptism. “It gives him great pleasure, makes rabbit feel rich, to contemplate the world’s wasting, to know the earth is mortal too” (McEwan, Solar epigraph). Yes, Michael is seeking the pleasure too. It pleasures him, like the politicians, to contemplate the world’s wasting. In Žižekian term, Michael is escaping the “real kernel” (Žižek, The Sublime Object of Ideology 45) of his life. Consequently, he finds the ideological doctrine much more pleasurable and goes after it while being aware of the ideological Specter hovering over the issue.
The second answer is that Michael does his best not to fall in the ideological hole dug for him. Michael follows the issue, and while pleasuring from the ideological manipulations, does his best not to fall in its trap and tries to do something about it instead of just normalizing the issue. His efforts on the solar project can be considered as real efforts towards solving a real problem (though ideologically manipulated). But the problem is that the result is zero. The ideological issue successfully helps him break away from his miserable condition, but Michael cannot do anything practical for the issue and consequently the outcome is not different from the public who are postponing the dates and waiting for an ideological apocalypse to come. Michael does his
روی کلم? “حکم” عنایت نداشتهاند و منظورشان همان “زوجه حقیقی” است؛210 گرچه چون بههرحال میان رجعیه و زوجه حقیقی غیرمطلقه این تفاوت وجود دارد که علق? زوجیت رجعیه در معرض زوال است، به همین جهت Read more…