layers that creep in the texture of McEwan’s novels. Ideological levels of Doctrine, Ritual and Belief are focused here. A mere personal aspect of the apocalyptic imagination and the process through which a traumatic and post-traumatic subject is formed are highlighted in this segment.
Chapter Four is unswervingly dedicated to the apocalyptic specter that hovers around McEwan’s works by examining his own words as well as his works. The Žižekian death drive is applied to complete the discussion, wishing to map various aspects of the McEwanian end-times thought. The application of the five stages of grief on the works of McEwan is the latest attempt to investigate the issue and elaborate on McEwanian finalism.
The following is a list of what goes on in the thesis:
Chapter One: Introduction
Review of Literature
Methodology and Approach
Definition of Terms
Chapter Two: An Introduction to Žižekian Theories
Žižek as a Hegelian Philosopher
Žižek as a Lacanian Psychoanalyst
Žižek as a Marxist Critic of Ideology
Žižek Meets McEwan, Contributions to the Apocalyptic Vision
Chapter Three: Žižekian Ideology Looms around McEwan’s Novels
The Specter of Ideology Hovering over McEwan’s Novels
Briony and Michael in the Process of Subjectivity
– The Processual Subjects
– The Unconscious Lack and the Ideological Manipulations
Chapter Four: McEwan Haunted by Žižekian Apocalypse Drive
An Introduction to McEwan’s End Times Thought
Death Drives McEwan’s Characters
Apocalypse Drives McEwan’s Fiction
The Žižekian Stages of Apocalypse in McEwan’s Novels
– Bargaining, Depression and Withdrawal
– Acceptance: The Cause Regained (A New Beginning)
Chapter V: Conclusion
Findings and Implications
Suggestion for Further Research
Chapter Two: An Introduction to Žižekian Theories
It can be roughly claimed that the first decade of the 21st century, as well as the initial years of its second, marked the most profound forms of apocalyptic imaginations. The prophecy of an upcoming apocalypse is haunting people’s minds. Each form of art in its own way reflects the matter and people are wondering how close they are getting to an end; not an individual and temporal one, but an all-time communal end.
After September 11 incident (terroristic attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001) the mainstream media, consciously or unconsciously, made a great effort to reveal different aspects of an imminent apocalypse. The mainstream cinema mounted its unraveling attempt to produce films portraying a world in danger of the final collapse. The threats of terrorism, religious extremism, the dark scenes of diabolic powers overwhelming the earth, the gloomy pictures of the Book of Revelation rehearsed artistically at Hollywood, all and all contributed to an end time anear. The realms of the fiction, novels and short stories were also the stage to the most profound end-times thought.
The ecological, political and economic crises also fashioned a touch stone for the very finalism in today’s world. Global warming, ecological disasters, draughts, energy shortages and fossil fuels resources shrinking on daily basis, devastating tsunamis, pure threats of nuclear plants and much more, all contribute to the last pages of the nature’s history. The collapse of the World Trade Center in September 11 attacks, the global economic crisis with repeated failing recessions in the US and European Union, Euro Zone near its collapse, banks’ frauds and many other issues represented an ailing global economy on the edge of an all-time bankruptcy. From political viewpoint, people’s dissatisfaction with the political leaderships, heavy clampdowns on peaceful protesters in the biggest flag-bearers of freedom of speech, US-UK good old police kittling, beating, pepper-spraying students causing huge disillusionments, Arab Spring and the overthrow of Arab dictators in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen provoking dissent in Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Morocco and many other parts of the Arab World and the sad story of the stolen revolutions, massive rallies all over the world, Wikileaks representing the most brutal nature of War on Terror, the leftist claims on the wrap-up of the capitalist system, these all have led the communal psyche to get to the conclusion that there must be an end nigh.
In the midst of all these problems, at a world waiting for the apocalypse to come and when the political realm of human thought and philosophy seems to be at a dead-end to produce fresh thoughts, there comes a philosopher who believes in Mao Zedong saying: when “there is [a] great disorder under heaven, the situation is excellent” (Žižek, Living in the End Times xii). The Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Žižek [born in 1949] hails this problematic world, finds it as a new season to fight and finds a way out of the existing mess. In an interview with Aljazeera’s Riz Khan entitled “Are We Living in the End Times?” , when Žižek was asked about the future of the world, he replied: “There is light, but the only way to light is through courageously confronting darkness” (Žižek).
As mentioned in In These Times magazine, “Žižek is an academic rock star” (McCarraher) commenting on the ills of our time. Stephan Sackur  in BBC’s “Hard Talk” compared Žižek “to early Elvis Presley, loud, dazzling, and possibly dangerous” (Sackur). And the very popular and dazzling loudness and political incorrectness has made “The New Republic” to call him “The most dangerous philosopher in the west” (Kirsch).
Žižek not only negates the oversimplified answers to the current global problems, but also shouts to ask a different question. In fact, he questions the fundamental questions about the problems towards human existence.
The following is what “The New Yorker” wrote about him:
Slavoj Žižek is a Lacanian-Marxist philosopher from Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia…has written books on subjects as wide-ranging as Hitchcock, Lenin, opera, and the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Žižek’s aim, in his work, is to combine a Marxist critique of capitalism with a psychoanalytically informed unmasking of the ways in which capitalism works upon the public imagination. (Mead)
And in sum, what Mr. Hamed Akbarzadeh in his MA thesis (2009) wrote (which was the only thesis on Žižek I could find in Iran) can be truly applied here: “Žižek is a plural state, a space within which one is able to see an amalgamation of materials” (2). One can claim that this plural state is due to the plural state where he has been born and has lived; Slovenia. And in order to get a better perspective of this amalgamation of materials one has to review his personal life and the transition that Žižek witnesses from the Yugoslavia’s dominance over Slovenia to the independence and the political ups and downs of his country.
Slavoj Žižek was born on 21 March 1949 in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia which at that time was part of Yugoslavia. By the time, Yugoslavia was one of the liberal communist countries in the Eastern Europe under the rule of Marshal Josip Broz Tito (1892-1980). Under Tito’s rule, Yugoslavia made a buffer zone between the East and the West via breaking with Stalinist bureaucratic traditions and adopting a third way non-aligned position between capitalism and communism (Parker 13). This buffer zone was the scene of turmoil and was even victimized
by the capitalist-communist pressure from both sides.
Ian Parker in A Critical Introduction to Slavoj Žižek (2004), writes: “The history of Yugoslavia is precisely a history of deadlocks, and breaking points, relations of impossibility” (11). And accordingly, what concern Žižek are the very deadlocks at breaking points in the world and the relations of impossibility which even sometimes do not serve to soften or solve the issues they attempt to grasp, but, they only show something of that impossibility. This is why Žižek combines its theoretical resources from the Hegelian, Lacanian and Marxist theories that attend to negativity, lack and dialectical fracture.
In his teenage years, Žižek devoted himself to reading English literature and watching Hollywood movies. This prepared the ground for his later criticism of cinema and art and his interest in the realm of culture. He, then, attended the University of Ljubljana, published his first book when he was 20 and went on to get his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and sociology in 1971. Next, he completed his Master of Arts in philosophy in 1975. His 400-page MA thesis was entitled ‘The Theoretical and Practical Relevance of French Structuralism’ in which he analyzed the growing impact of the French thinkers and philosophers including Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, Gilles Deleuze and Claude Lévi-Strauss.
Based on Tony Myers’ account in his book Routledge Critical Thinkers series about Žižek, there are two major disappointments in Žižek’s professional career. First, when he was rejected from a lecturing post upon completion of his MA in the University of Ljubljana, the reason was that “the authorities were concerned that the charismatic teaching of Žižek might improperly influence students with his dissident thinking” (Myers 7). This bitter experience made him start translations from German philosophers to support his wife and son and also to try his hand in writing speeches for leading members of Central Committee of the League of Slovene Communists. This very bitter era of his life caused him to learn much more about German Philosophy which later formed the total