Ian McEwan, The Cement Garden

Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

McEwan's first novel concerns a family of abandoned children coming to terms with life without their parents. It is about their simultaneous growth into adults and regression as children. The novel might indeed have been called the semen garden, concerned as it is with creation (nature) and procreation (animal). The main character is Jack, an adolescent who at the start of the novel masturbates for the first time as his father has a heart-attack and dies. The boy jacks off on to his hand and then watches the ejaculated semen dry like cement: “As I watched, it dried to a barely visible shiny crust which cracked when I flexed my wrist. I decided not to wash it away.” Little in this book is washed away, from dirt to guilt, but almost everything is covered over: the garden, a dead…

1029 words

Citation: Childs, Peter. "The Cement Garden". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1289, accessed 15 June 2024.]

1289 The Cement Garden 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.