Portrayal of Mental Illness: Characterization in Ian McEwan’s Short Stories (‘Homemade’, ‘Solid Geometry’, ‘Butterflies’)

  •  Anastasiia Yanovska    


The article aims to examine the portrayal of mental illness in three character-narrators of the selected Ian McEwan short stories from his collection ‘First Love, Last Rites’. By taking the psychiatric diagnostic criteria as the methodical basis for the analysis, this article traces how and to what extent do characters’ actions, words and behavior correspond to the symptoms ascribed to one of the mental illnesses in question. Thus, the article explores how through the ways of direct and indirect characterization Ian McEwan creates complex images of the characters that suffer from mental illness and closely examines how such a complicated topic is reflected in the three short stories that were chosen for the analysis. Furthermore, through close reading the article attempts to show the intricate design of the characters and the stories in general, that in complex create a powerful and detailed image, and provide an angle for viewing the influence of mental illness on one’s life.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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