Question 7: “Happiness on a knife edge” is how Ruth Scurry headlines her review of Saturday in the times. (London)
How adequate is this as a summary of the novel?
A twinge of anticipation ran down my spine as I read this quote. It promises a breathtaking and daunting story. But is that description adequate to describe Ian McEwen’s novel “Saturday”?
This quote can be interpreted in many ways, in the literal way as well as a figurative way. In my essay I will be discussing how this quote fuses with the novel on different levels.
Perowne is a successful neurosurgeon. He thus works with scalpels and knives, from the novel we know that “For certain days, even weeks on end, work can shape every hour; it’s the tide the lunar cycle they set their lives by, and without it, it can seem, there’s nothing” Perowne undying love for his job is evident as he lives his life by it, without it, he feels that there is no worth in living. Perowne is not fazed with time, as his job is what fulfills his being and gives meaning to his life.
The glistering sharp blade of a scalpel also determines Rosalind’s happiness. Even though Perowne himself didn’t operate on her, it could have gone hopelessly wrong as she could have gone blind due to the tumor that pressed down on her optic nerves. “I don’t want to go blind, she said in a small, shocked voice. Please don’t let me go blind” Like the blade of knife can violently alter your life, Rosalind’s case was also unpredictable. If it wasn’t for the aid of surgical tools, blindness would have the alternative. In the above quote it is clear that her every cell was on the rim of bursting with fear due to the alteration of lifestyle if she had the lights turned off in her eyes.
There are many instances in the novel where living on the edge of knife in the literal sense appears. When Baxter intrudes Perowne’s content home and holds a knife to Rosalind’s neck he makes their hearts sink as they are instantaneously...