Analysis Of Ian Mcewan 's ' Atonement '

2466 Words10 Pages
Hayden Webster
Mr. Drake
AP Lit and Comp
23 November 2014

Title: Atonement
Author: Ian McEwan
Year of Publication: 2001


Briony Tallis: Briony Tallis is the protagonist of Atonement. Though Briony has two older siblings, Leon and Cecilia, they are both at least ten years her senior. Therefore, Briony grows up virtually as an only child and as a result is quite self-centered. Briony is introduced to readers when she is working on her play The Trials of Arabella. Through Briony’s writing process and inner thoughts, readers are made aware of her obsession with order and control. This obsession combined with her self-absorbed mindset fosters Briony’s unaware naïveté. Briony believes that she understands everything that occurs around her, when in reality, she cannot understand adult concepts and ideas that do not yet pertain to her. It is this obliviousness that leads to her rape accusations against Robbie—Briony is unable to see the love between her older sister Cecilia and Robbie, the servant’s son. Once Briony matures, she begins to realize the depth of the consequences of her actions, and throws herself into atoning her “sins.” In doing so, she writes her own novel involving a couple that represents Robbie and Cecilia, and feels that she can relieve herself of guilt by admitting to her wrongdoings and rewriting the fates of the two lovers. However, the novel simply paints Briony’s naïveté in a new light—though she has grown up, she is still unaware of the dire

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