Secularity, Emotion and Law in Ian McEwan’s The Children Act

  • Buncha Rattanamathuwong Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
Keywords: secularity, Ian McEwan, The Children Act


This paper examines Ian McEwan’s The Children Act as a work of fiction that explores the contemporary issue of secularism. My argument is that the novel’s exploration of the interplay between law and feelings demonstrates McEwan’s attempt to defy the dichotomous quality commonly attributed to law. By juxtaposing the implementation of law and religious practices, the novel’s dramatization of the collision between these two forces shows that emotion and feeling are never absent from the allegedly unsympathetic secular civic institution. The realm of law can offer both sympathy and compassion secularity – Ian McEwan – The Children Actto people who are subject to it.