Themes and message

The main themes of the story “Dead as They Come” by Ian McEwan are emotional alienation and sexuality enhanced by the motif of the corrupting nature of wealth and connoisseur tastes (suggested by the numerous paintings the narrator owns which he ultimately destroys). The author’s intention is to show the way a man who supposedly has it all (he is very rich) is, in fact, a psychological wreck, and has lost the capacity of emotionally connecting with real women.


The theme of sexuality is very obvious throughout the text, but the way it is explored is interesting and creative. The protagonist of the story becomes attracted by a mannequin and creates a relationship experience with the lifeless object which he treats as a real person.

The man’s sexuality is closely linked to his need of possessing people and things. He is not satisfied with only looking at the mannequin through the shop window, he wants it to be in his physical possession and buys it. In the same way, he is very proud of his material possessions, describing and...

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