Story Telling: A Potent Tool In Ian McEwan's Atonement and Washington Irvin's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

1314 WordsJul 9, 20186 Pages
Although storytelling can be seen as a form of creative writing, the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan and the short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irvin both suggest that storytelling serves as a means for exaggerating actual events. This is significant because the partially deceitful elements tend to mold the reader’s judgment of what really happens. In the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan, Thirteen year old Briony Tallis is gifted with the ability of words. Briony’s ability to tell stories often leaves the audience questioning whether Briony’s account of events actually took place or if they are a mere figment of her imagination. The first time that this is seen is when Briony discovers Robbie and her sister, Cecilia, in…show more content…
Even with every inkling of suspicion that Robbie really died of infection from an injury obtained during the war, it forces the reader to believe that maybe, just maybe, he survived. Briony is so gifted with the art of creating words that for a split second she achieves the action forcing the reader to believe that things worked themselves out and that she was now able to atone for her guilt that she carried all of these years. The audience later learns that the events that Briony narrated had not actually taken place at all. She had not witnessed the wedding of Lola and Paul Marshall, Robbie and Cecilia did not end up together, and Robbie died at war and Cecilia died in an explosion in London. I believe that Briony’s account of these events were very selfish, she does not realize until it is to late to make amends that words can be just as, if not more harmful, than actions. Briony creates these fabricated events to make amends within herself because she knows that her sister and Robbie would have never forgiven her as they had stated before, but the details of these events leads the reader to believe that things worked out for Robbie and Cecelia after years of separation when the two never actually got to be together. Similarly, in the short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irvin, the narrator, Dietrich Knickerbocker, details the village people of

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