Atonement and 'in Memory of W. B Yeats'

Decent Essays

‘In Memory of C. Tallis and R. Turner’ In this essay I will discuss the effects of W. H. Auden’s poem ‘In Memory of W. B. Yeats’ upon the tone, and the foreshadowing of plot line of Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement. The poem and the novel are both elegiac- it is the contribution of the poem to Atonement at the crucial point before the deaths of the characters Robbie and Cecilia that begins to set the tone of elegy within the novel. This acknowledgement of death and mourning brings a sense of impending doom; the love expressed from Cecilia to Robbie by the inclusion of lines from ‘In Memory of W. B. Yeats’ is matched by the element of tragic loss it also insinuates. The poem, set at a time of great impending disaster within Europe (Norton) …show more content…

The poem appears again at page two hundred and forty-two of Atonement, in the line ‘In the deserts of the heart / let the healing fountain start.’(242). This line succeeds more positive thoughts from Robbie, where he determines to start anew, to find his father and to find Cecilia. Robbie ‘[…] Dreamed of sharing a little house somewhere, of an ordinary life, a family line, connection.’, and these wishes are

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