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Atonement: Setting

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by

Lejla Omerovic

on 16 September 2014

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Transcript of Atonement: Setting

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Atonement: Setting
Part One Setting:

Part Two Setting:
Part Three Setting:
Part Four Setting: (Coda)
Part One Setting: (English Manor)
English manor vs. war-torn France
Part Two Setting: (War-torn France)
Setting of Time:
Setting of Societal Circumstances:
Part One Setting:
Part Two Setting:
Part 3 Setting:

Part Four Setting: (Coda)
Surprise Information!
"The unease was not confined to the hospital. It seemed to rise with the turbulent brown river swollen by the April rains, and in the evenings lay across the blackend-out city like a mental dusk which the whole country could sense, a quiet and malign thickening, inseparable from the cool late spring, well concealed within its spreading beneficence. Something was coming to an end. The senior staff, conferring in self-important groups at the corridor intersections, were nursing a secret. Younger doctors were a little taller, their stride more aggressive, and the consultant was distracted on his round, and on one particular morning crossed to the window to gaze out across the river for minutes on end, while behind him the nurses stood to attention by the beds and waited. "
Tallis Home during 1935 before WWII in Surrey in Southeast England.
Large house amongst beautiful gardens and fountains.
Unusually hot summer day.
Two day period
Displays wealth, power, and superior social class.

During WWII
Transition from a wealthy and beautiful estate to war-torn France.
In the countryside of Dunkirk
May, 1940
BEF retreating to Dunkirk's beach.
Dunkirk is usually portrayed as an evacuation center.
Gore and bloodshed displayed with the German's victory
"She refreshed the flowers by plunging them into the fountain's basin, which was
full-scale, deep and cold,
and avoided Robbie by hurrying round to the front of the house-it was an excuse, she thought, to stay outside another few minutes. Morning sunlight, or any light, could not conceal the ugliness of the
Tallis home-barely forty years old, bright orange brick, squat, lead-paned baronial Gothic,
to be condemned one day in an article by Pevsner, or one of his team, as a tragedy of wasted chances, and by a younger writer of the modern school as 'charmless to a fault.' An Adam-style house had stood here until destroyed by a fire in the lat 1880s.
What remained was the artificial lake and island with its two stone bridges supporting the driveway, and, by the water's edge, a crumbling stuccoed temple
. Ceciliia's grandfather, who grew up over an ironmonger's shop and made the family fortune with a series of patents on padlocks, bolts, latches, and hasps, had imposed on the new house his taste for all things solid, secure, and functional.
Still, if one turned one's back to the front enterance and glanced down the drive, ignoring the Friesians already congregating in the shade of widely spaced trees
, the view was fine enough, giving an impression of timeless, unchanging calm which made her more certainthan ever that she must soon be moving on." (18)
London, 1940. Still WWII, from April to May
Briony's Training Hospital aiding wounded soldiers.
Lola and Paul Marshall's wedding reception.
43 Dudley Villas, Cecilia's home.
London 1999
Briony's 77th birthday
Briony goes to a museum in Lambeth
Then to the Tilney Hotel. It is her old house. The scenery is still beautiful with large trees, a healthy garden, and lovely fountains.
- Tallis's Manor in Surrey, England
- Idyllic
- Has a soothing effect on the reader
- Overall positive outlook on the setting
- War-torn French countryside during World War II
- Chaotic and disturbing
- Somewhat comparable to the Tallis property
- War is what dominates the reader's experience of setting in Part 2

Part 3: English hospital
-Takes place in the hospital in which Briony works in England
- Urban setting shows distress within the Tallis family
- The hospital becomes more and more chaotic

Coda: "London 1999"
- Urban setting once again
-Briony has not returned home for pleasure
- Peaceful
- Allows for finality to the novel
- Briony's return home closes the novel neatly

“Their track joined the road where it turned a right-angled corner to leave the village. They rested their feet for ten minutes, sitting on the rim of a stone water trough. Three- and ten-ton lorries, half-tracks and ambulances were grinding round the narrow turn at less than one mile an hour, and moving away from the village down a long straight road whose left side was flanked by plane trees. The road led directly north, toward a black cloud of burning oil that stood above the horizon, marking out Dunkirk. No need for a compass now. Dotted along the way were disabled military vehicles. Nothing was to be left for enemy use. From the backs of receding lorries the conscious wounded stared out blankly. There were also armored cars, staff cars, Bren-gun carriers and motorbikes. Mixed in with them and stuffed or piled high with household gear and suitcases were civilian cars, buses, farm trucks and carts pushed by men and women or pulled by horses. The air was gray with diesel fumes, and straggling wearily through the stench, and for the moment faster than the traffic, were hundreds of soldiers, most of them carrying their rifles and their awkward greatcoats—a burden in the morning’s growing warmth” (203).
Ian McEwen uses the setting of World War II so prominently in the book because, “When I came to write Atonement, my father’s stories, with automatic ease, dictated the structure” (The Guardian). David McEwan’s legacy of his time at war was so influential to Ian; “ He makes an appearance in Atonement. In 1940 he was a motorbike dispatch rider and he was wounded in the legs. He teamed up with another soldier who’d been shot in the arms, and between them they worked the controls of a motorbike. They pass Robbie on the road into Dunkirk” (Begley, Ian). Briony, as a character, does not seem aware as she should be of the significance of the war until the soldiers start rolling in to her hospital. As readers can see, Briony gets to have a first-hand glance at what war is really like, tending to the wounded and watching and being there for a soldier when he dies. Not to mention, being a nurse during that time, Briony was bound to have heard stories straight from the soldiers of the horrors of the war. As an author, Briony is even more aware of the significance of WWII not only because of her first-hand accounts from being a nurse, but also because it is the reason Cecelia and Robbie did not end up together. Yes, the cause of the original separation between the lovers was because of Briony’s false accusation, but the continuing affect of it kept them apart, leading up to their demise. Briony writes, “…Robbie Turner died of septicemia at Bray Dunes on 1 July 1940, or that Cecelia was killed in September of the same year by the bomb that destroyed Balham Underground station” (McEwan 350). It is because of the continuous ripples of her crime that readers can believe Briony understood the significance of WWII much greater than as that of a character in her own book. As a reader, the role of WWII can affect the reader because Ian McEwan, it seems, so effectively details the events of war and what it is like. A lot of the students and adults who read Atonement, it can be assumed, have not been in or experienced war. McEwan, however and as it was said before, successfully points out many situations that can play on a reader’s emotions. It could be feeling afraid for Robbie and his boys when they are traveling the French countryside and trying to avoid being killed. It could be humble feeling evoked from when Robbie “eats the best meal of his life.” Finally, it could be sadness when readers can imagine the scene in which the Flemish mother is just holding on to her little boy, “soothing him, surely telling him that everything was going to be all right. Mama would see to that” (McEwan 223). Overall, the entirety of the novel dealing with WWII evokes an emotional effect on the reader.
Josh Kurosz, Dalton Erger, Talia Hempel, and Lejla Omerovic
The added passage of more than 50 years that occurs "off the page" between Part 3 and the final section is to bring insight to the question: Has Briony matured? and Has she actually atoned for her wrongs or is she just feeling guilty and wants to aleviate herself? The 50 year gap in between parts 3 and 4 show that Briony, and all people can mature and change themselves. From age 18 to 77 Briony has matured to realize the effect of what her mistake has made and how much it has affected everyone. Ian McEwan wants readers to notice this and to show that all people can have a second chance if they work for it.
McEwan communicates using imagery
Imagery is not just found within Part 1, but throughout entire book
Even while describing a different house readers are able to imagine the fire and the remains left
Setting of Social Class: Just as Briony committed her own crime, the USA is still trying to atone for a huge crime in its founding history: slavery. America continues, more than 100 years later, to make up for this heinous deed by things such as the Affirmative Act.
"The music was still playing as we turned into the drive of Tilney's Hotel. More than twenty-five years had passed since I came this way, for Emily's funeral. I nticed first he abscence of parkland trees, the giant elms lost to diesease I supposed, and the remaining oaks cleared to make way for a golf course."
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