Briony Tallis Is A Naive, Young Writer Who Lives With Her

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Briony Tallis is a naive, young writer who lives with her parents at the Tallis’ English country estate. Her older sister, Cecilia, attends the University of Cambridge. along with the estate’s groundskeeper, Robbie Turner. One hot summer day in 1935, Briony witnesses a moment of sexual tension between the Robbie and her sister from a window. She misinterprets his affection for an aggressive attempt to seduce her sister. Following this scene, Briony intercepts a suggestive letter from Robbie, written to Cecilia, and reads it. Confirming her concerns, Briony seeks a way to protect her sister. That night, her twin cousins run away from home. The Tallis’ conduct a search party with the help of the remaining house guests. Briony decides to…show more content…
In the last few pages, Briony reveals to the reader that she, herself, is the author. She was never able to visit Cecilia and Robbie for they both had died during the war. When Briony returns to the country side, she narrates their love as her final atonement. In the novel, this country-estate setting symbolizes social class privilege, and through Briony’s narration, readers see that the English novel is looking to make amends for this privilege.
The setting in Atonement presents a time where society is highly influenced by the framework of social class. The Tallis family home is set in 1935 England. With posh furnishings and beautiful gardens, it is easy to see the lavish lifestyle that the Tallis family lives. “Cecilia led the visitors into the drawing room, through the French windows, past the roses towards the swimming pool… and emerged onto a terrace of dazzling white stone from which the heat rose in a blast” (McEwan 46). McEwan purposefully utilizes the symbol of the country-estate to signify wealth and status from “the house itself to representations of it, in literature” and through the Tallis’, he paints a picture of a privileged lifestyle that aristocratic families were accustomed to in England prior to World War II (Quarrie 3). These social guises link class distinctions with notions that the elite felt a sort of “absolute sovereignty” over the working class (Quarrie 7). Despite graduating at the top of his class at Cambridge, Robbie is

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