Essay Topic: Discuss Point of View as a Technique and Theme in ‘Atonement’.

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The use of varied points of view, known as , free indirect discourse, or variable internal focalisation, omniscient narration is used in fiction to create particular themes in such books as the 'Atonement' by Ian McEwan, Jane Austen and many other authors. Using these styles has been spoken of as heightened literary skills which delivers to the reader what the author desires to reveal of their characters. It is an advanced and old style that can be used to bring forth the many perceptions created by the writer. This essay will discuss how point of view is used as a technique and thereupon the theme of atonement within free indirect style, variable internal focalisation and omniscient narration ultimately narrated by an aging
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Briony repeats this throughout the book.
Variable internal focalisation
The story we read, particularly in Part One, is created by only one narrative voice - the aging novelist Briony - and McEwan uses variable internal focalisation, “that is, narrative where the focal character changes (the narrative voice doesn’t change in the Atonement)”. (Finney, 95) The purpose of variable internal focalisation is “to know what they know and see what they see” (Broken English, 1) and we see the story of the fountain scene from three different viewpoints. These three viewpoints are “through the eyes of Briony, then of Cecilia, then of Robbie,”. (Finney, 95) Finney (98) also packages it by reiterating through Connolly’s description that ‘Two Figures by a Fountain’ (McEwan 30,39,79) does indicate that she is already making a first attempt to project herself into the consciousness … of Cecilia and Robbie”. As the aging Briony puts it, “she need only show separate minds, as alive as her own, struggling with the idea that other minds were equally alive”. (McEwan, 40) “The effect of variable internal focalisation is to shift the focus into the consciousness of characters which is worked through an omniscient narrator and then channelled into the focus of narration and character further specialising the narrator method to

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