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Atonement

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Kelsey Cundith

on 4 January 2013

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Transcript of Atonement

By: Ian McEwan Atonement Characters Theme Briony Tallis-- Briony Tallis is the main character of the book. The story is told through her eyes. When the story begins Briony is a 13 year old girl. In the beginning we see that Briony has discovered a passion for words, secrets, and writing. Briony is writing a play called "The Trials of Arbella" which she attempted to star and direct. Briony has a very vivid imagination. When things don't work out with the play she decides to write a story instead. From the very beginning of the book Briony starts to loose her innocence. Briony witnesses a series of events between Cecilia and Robbie and misinterprets what she sees and doesn't fully understand adult behavior. This causes her to start a series of long-lasting, damaging results for everyone involved. When Briony grows up she serves as a nurse in London during World War Two, this is where she begins to write. By the end of the book we find out that Briony is a 77 year old and learn that she is the author of the entire story we have read. Atonement is set during and just before World War Two, its action taking place in 1935 and 1940. The main events of the story occur during Part 1 at the Tallis estate in the summer of 1935. The estate is situated in the English countryside.
One reason that this setting is important is that it helps to explain part of Briony’s desire for drama in her life. The Tallis estate is situated in the remote countryside. There is little for Briony to do and no one close to her age to play or become friends with. Her sister Cecilia and brother Leon are both substantially older than her and often away studying at university. Her mother suffers severe migraines and spends little time with Briony. Her father is rarely home and uses his work to distance himself. This lack of attention combined with her physical isolation causes Briony becomes a very lonely little girl with only her overactive imagination to entertain her. Setting Tallis house I personally can relate to this quote in my life because I understand how easy it is to hurt and break someone and after wards how hard it is to get that person to forgive you because whatever you did has an effect on them that is hard to forget.
This is the opening sentence to Chapter Ten, the chapter in which Briony discovers Robbie and Cecilia making love in the study. There can be no greater incident to lose your innocence to then the witnessing of the older man you have an oedipal attraction to making love to your older sister. The quote informs the reader that Briony was aware of her transient stage, she has a "confirmed view" of her "entering" adulthood.
I personally can relate to this quote because I would agree that after encountering/ having knowledge about two people making love like Robbie and Cecilia it deffinately takes away your loss of innocence and you start to enter adult hood once you start finding out things like this. Quotes The movie Cecilia Tallis-- Cecilia is Briony's older sister, she is 10 years older than her. She has just returned from school in Cambridge and is living at home now. Robbie Turner, the son of the charlady at the Tallis house, was also at Cambridge the same time as Cecilia. Back at home Cecilia feels useless as a member in the Tallis family and wants to feel needed and also wants something exciting to happen to her. Cecilia discovers Robbie's love for her after she receives a letter from him that Briony delivers. Cecilia embraces Robbie's desires and shows her affection for him in return. When Robbie gets accused of raping Lola, she is the only one that stays by his side saying he is innocent. After this Cecilia exiles herself from her family for not believing Robbie was innocent. She moves to London to become a nurse and the only time we hear from her is through her love letters to Robbie while he is fighting off the war in France. Later on in the book when Briony visits Cecilia we learn that Robbie and her have been living in a small flat in London. The last we see of Cecilia is when she is bringing Briony to the subway but she still doesnt forgive her for what she did. Characters Pictures Cecilia and Robbie @ fountain
with the vase Cecilia and Robbie @ fountain,
Cecilia jumping in to retrieve
the vase Cecilia Robbie Book Cover Briony
in the
beginning
(13 years old) Briony as
a nurse
(18 years
old) Briony telling
the story
(77 years old) Author Ian McEwan Characters Robbie Turner-- Robbie the the main male character in the book. In the middle part of the book we follow him into battle during World War Two. Robbie is also the guy who was falsely accused of rape by Briony. Robbie is the son of the Tallis charlady. In the beginning of the book Robbie is 23 and has just returned from Cambridge where he earned a literature degree. All of Robbie's schooling has been funded by Jack Tallis. Robbie's father left him when he was 6 years old with no explanation. Jack offered a job to Mrs. Turner and both she and Robbie have become a part of the family. Although Cecilia ignored Robbie while they were at Cambridge he writes her a letter telling her of his love for her. Robbie intentionally meant to only give Cecilia a letter saying he was sorry for breaking the relic vase but the letters accidentally got switched. Robbie and Cecilia got caught making love, and then Robbie is accused of raping Lola. He was found guilty and was sent to prison for three years. Robbie had an opportunity to emancipate himself fighting in France when Britain enters the war in 1939. The middle of the book follows him though his retreat from the front lines near Belguim to Dunkirk where the British army was gathering to flea back to England. Although Robbie was injured he reaches Dunkirk with the help of his two corporal companions Nettles and Mace. The next time we see Robbie is with Cecilia in their flat in 1940 when Briony visits. Robbie is furious with Briony for the crime she had committed and refuses to forgive her. "How guilt refined the methods of self-torture, threading the beads of detail into an eternal loop, a rosary to be fingered for a lifetime."
Narration, Page 162
One of Atonement's major themes is guilt. When Briony was young she commits an act that will haunt her for the rest of her life. The guilt Briony has leads to a "self-torture" that stays with her for "a lifetime." The only metaphor that McEwan adds to this line is an allegory to religion. The rosary is a string of beads used in both Catholicism and Islam. Religions in general use shame and guilt to oppress human desire, invoke fear, and maintain order. By comparing Briony's guilt to the beads on a rosary and a "loop" (a shape with no beginning or end), the author is able emphasize the eternity of Briony's guilt.
To me personally in my life i can relate with Briony by misinterpreting things and acting on it and later regretting that in life and having guilt after wards for not knowing the full truth or meaning. Quotes Quotes “A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn and not easily mended.”

This quote is talking about how Briony "easily tore" the lives of Cecilia and Robbie apart, a crime that is "not easily mended."

I personally can relate to this quote in my life because I understand how easy it is to hurt and break someone and after wards how hard it is to get that person to forgive you because whatever you did has an effect on them that is hard to forget. THUMBS UP! I would give Atonement a thumbs up because the book shows how one lie can alter the lives of everybody around you and how the consequences of Briony's actions didn't just hurt the people she loved but her self also. Briony was tortured with this guilt through out her life.

This book has reminded me to be more careful with how i interpret things and to not lie or say things unless i know it is true because if not, there can be never ending consequences guilt. One crime that centers around atonement is Briony being a false witness. Briony is writing a novel again and again in her act of atonement for her false accusations on Robbie. Her actions ruin the lives of Cecilia and Robbie and because of that Briony faces a life time of guilt. Briony isn't the only person guilty though, Paul Marshall and Lola are guilty also for remaining silent. Lola and Paul let Robbie take the punishment and remain quiet. It is possibly that Lola and Paul try to atone their acts through charity. * Part one is about the love story of Robbie and Cecilia, and the crime forming process of Briony. This part adopts third person narrative. In the aspect of focalization, there are zero focalization which makes up the frame of the plot and creates suspense, and variable internal focalization, which shows how Briony commits her crime.
* Part two turns to the battlefield of World War Two, which adopts Robbie and his comrade’s focalization to show the bloody scene and part three turn to the hospital of the arm, which adopts Briony’s focalization to show the wounded soldiers in hospital.
* Part two and part three continue to use third person narrative. The narrative voice comes from a narrator outside the story. In focalization, there still exists zero focalization. When Robbie and Briony use their different focalization to show the different aspect of war, it coincides with the concept of multiple-internal focalization.
* The epilogue adopts the first person narrative, which is different from the first three parts using third person narrative. POINT OF VIEW FOCALIZATION- who sees
NARRATIVE VOICE- who speaks Tone The tone is remorseful throughout because Briony has deep and painful regret for her crime and is trying to atone for her mistake. Guilt/ Atonement
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