Who Killed Robbie And Cecilia? Reading And Misreading Ian 's Atonement

1704 WordsNov 14, 20167 Pages
In his essay “Who Killed Robbie and Cecilia? Reading and Misreading Ian McEwan’s Atonement,” Martin Jacobi argues that Ian McEwan dramatizes misreading and warns readers against misreading, but also causes his readers to incorrectly read his novel. Jacobi shows us how easy it is to misread in Atonement and this makes readers more likely to sympathize with Briony’s misreading. He further discusses how the narrative encourages us to believe that Robbie and Cecilia’s love story must end tragically even though there is no reason to do so. Even though the readers see what terrible results Briony’s misreadings have on both Robbie and Cecilia, we are then tempted to make the same kinds of misinterpretations about how they turn out. In his literary analysis of these aspects of Ian MacEwan’s Atonement, Jacobi makes it clear to readers that they are wrong to assume that Robbie and Cecilia die, so if they decide that they have died, the readers are the ones who kill them. While I agree with Jacobi’s claim that the narrative does not clearly tell us whether Robbie and Cecilia die, in this essay I will argue that assuming that Robbie and Cecilia die is a very reasonable supposition and it is a more logical assumption than that the couple does not die. Jacobi himself states that “the most dominant interpretation for reviewers and critics is indeed that Robbie and Cecilia die during the war” (Jacobi 57). Perhaps Jacobi overanalyzed the text to create an opposition that there was no need

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