Media: an Ever-Present Entity

By Agnes McCarty, Josh Tukes, and Jack DeSalvo

This infographic depicts the importance and presence of the news and media in London in 2003 in Ian McEwan’s novel Saturday. The novel follows Henry Perowne on Saturday, February 15, 2003, the day of the largest protest in London’s history. This protest was concerning the possible intervention of the US and other powers, including the UK, in Iraq. This protest sets the background for the entire day, and allows McEwan to make observations about the news and the media. The following infographic observes McEwan’s use of the protests and the impending war in Iraq as a way to understand the importance of mass media. The first couple of panels use close readings to illustrate the power of news media, and its presence in the novel. These close reading examples explore media in terms of its constant presence, its ability to bring people together, and it’s all-consuming nature. The next three panels utilize distant reading analyses to focus on the news media and also the news itself. The first panel shows how many times certain aspects of the war in Iraq are mentioned in the text, showing that McEwan uses characters’ opinions about the war to frame and characterize them. The next distant reading focuses on the number of times certain news media are mentioned, which highlight the importance of news in the story and the characters’ lives. Finally, the third distant reading panel displays the frequency of the word “protest” and its various forms, emphasizing how it functions in the background of the entire narrative.


“BBC News Channel Logo.” BBC, Accessed 16 Apr. 2018.



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