`` Atonement `` By Ian Mcewan Essay

1329 Words 6 Pages
Great writers challenge us to think more deeply about the meaning of our human experience. In “Atonement” Ian McEwan creates characters such as the Tallis family, Paul Marshall and Robbie Turner, to portray the injustices of a social class system which gives privilege to one class over another. As the title suggests McEwan also plays with the idea of guilt and atonement, the main protagonist and antagonist Briony Tallis is the most complex example of this. The use of Guilt and atonement is perhaps the main theme in “Atonement”. He uses these themes to examine the complex ideas of the human condition and to give an insight in the human experience.

The sense of guilt is not something that we can push aside or put in a closet and forget about. It is always lingering, always there, constant. We often feel the need to ‘Make-up’ for the thing that has caused us this guilt it is just part of the human condition. In “Atonement” Ian McEwan examines the issues of guilt and atonement through the character of Briony Tallis who spends her whole life repenting for a crime she committed when she was 13 years of age. She falsely accuses her sister’s lover Robbie Turner of raping her cousin Lola and sends him to prison. Later in the book the reader does in fact find out that it was Paul Marshall, he also spends his whole life with the lingering feeling of guilt for not coming forward, however he chooses not to make Atonement. Instead as stated in part 4 of the novel “he just swept on wards…

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