Enduring Love

by

Ian McEwan

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Enduring Love can help.
Doors Symbol Icon

In Enduring Love, doors symbolize obsession. When Joe first describes John Logan’s abandoned car, he states cryptically that its “door, or doors,” were “wide open,” a detail that makes Jean Logan believe that a second person—a woman—must have been in the car with her husband. For Jean Logan (and, to an extent, for Joe and Clarissa, who doggedly try, throughout the book, to remember just what they saw), the car’s doors are an entry point into an entire alternative narrative: if two doors were open, Jean’s husband must have been having an affair, and Jean’s married life must have been based on a lie. Elsewhere, doors contribute to obsession for other characters. When Joe glimpses Jed Parry in the reading room of the London Library, he becomes momentarily enthralled by the “diminishing pendulum movement” of the swinging doors that lead into a stairwell. (He “could not stop looking” at it.) When Jed Parry envisions, in a letter, his future life with Joe, he imagines Joe coming “right up to the front door,” where “hardly anyone” goes. In both of these cases, a door signifies the fulfilment of a certain kind of obsessive prophecy: Joe’s belief, even early in the novel, that he is being stalked by Parry, and Parry’s belief, against all reason, that Joe will one day come to live with him in his house.

Doors Quotes in Enduring Love

The Enduring Love quotes below all refer to the symbol of Doors. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Importance of Loyalty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor Books edition of Enduring Love published in 1998.
Chapter 4 Quotes

I was afraid of my fear, because I did not yet know the cause. I was scared of what it would do to me and what it would make me do. And I could not stop looking at the door.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Jed Parry
Related Symbols: Doors
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:
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Enduring Love PDF

Doors Symbol Timeline in Enduring Love

The timeline below shows where the symbol Doors appears in Enduring Love. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Rationalism vs. Intuition Theme Icon
Obsession Theme Icon
...of white shoe and something red,” as well as the “closing of the sighing swing doors that led out of the reading room onto the stairs.” (full context)
Rationalism vs. Intuition Theme Icon
Obsession Theme Icon
...a sense of “apprehension” whose source he can’t identify. He cannot “stop looking at the door” that closed a moment earlier, and, after a few seconds, he stands and moves into... (full context)
Chapter 6
Rationalism vs. Intuition Theme Icon
Obsession Theme Icon
The Nature of Love Theme Icon
...to work before they can discuss the situation further. As Clarissa is walking out the door, Joe’s closing words—a suggestion that Parry might very well be a “vengeful fanatic”—are interrupted by... (full context)
Chapter 11
Obsession Theme Icon
The Nature of Love Theme Icon
...“lawns” and “courtyard.” He looks forward to the day when Joe will approach the “front door” of the house, where “hardly anyone” goes, “apart from the postman.” Parry explains the chain... (full context)
Chapter 13
Rationalism vs. Intuition Theme Icon
The Nature of Love Theme Icon
A grief-stricken Jean Logan meets Joe at the door. Following her inside, Joe reflects upon the house’s décor, which he suspects has not changed... (full context)
Obsession Theme Icon
The Nature of Love Theme Icon
...someone “with [her] husband” on the day of the accident. She asks Joe if “one door or two” were open on the car from which John Logan ran into the field,... (full context)
Chapter 17
Rationalism vs. Intuition Theme Icon
Clarissa herself, Joe recalls, is unsure about the number of doors she saw open on John Logan’s car, but she is certain that she didn’t see... (full context)
Chapter 21
Rationalism vs. Intuition Theme Icon
...of these people” when he sees them, and the two of them walk to the door and ring the bell. The man who opens the door, Steve, is an acquaintance of... (full context)
Chapter 24
The Importance of Loyalty Theme Icon
Obsession Theme Icon
The Nature of Love Theme Icon
...his own vehicle. Reid and Bonnie saw the accident—they were responsible for the second car door being open—but they fled the scene once they realized that there was nothing they could... (full context)