Briony's Identity In Atonement

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The power of writing and literacy are factors that influence Briony 's identity through the way they affect her thought process and the way she thinks about the individuals that surround her. Briony has difficulty understanding the difference between fictional plot and characters in her stories and reality, which eventually influence her decision to accuse Robbie. Literature and writing have an extremely influential role in Atonement as literature is present in all aspects of the events that take place and can be seen as the catalyst for future actions. It is through writing that Briony has such a remarkable imagination. Atonement revolves around the life of Briony Tallis and how she atones for the mistakes she made as a child. Briony has no …show more content…
Her imagination allows her to control all aspects of her internal world and place herself into the center of attention. Briony feels as if every person around her is growing up and she is the only child. She is shown to be intensely jealous of the proper and adult-like Lola as Briony realizes she ”can not keep up with the older girl" (p13). When rehearsing The Trials of Arabella with her cousins, she notes that everything cannot be in her control. This need to become and converse like an adult and the realization that she is not able to control every aspect of her life introduces her habit of being in the center of attention. This explains the reason why Briony blamed Robbie, as she was eager to transform and place herself into the center of attention as blaming Robbie would place a more superior adult role onto her shoulders. McEwan states that, "a huge indulgence in literary models by Briony is partly what leads her to make her misjudgement” (Surtherland, John.), which indicates that literature played a large role in Briony 's …show more content…
According to McEwan, "letters are a fabulous resource of intimate human detail that you don 't really find in the history books" (Surtherland, John.). This is shown in the novel in the note which Robbie wrote for Cecilia was read intentionally by Briony. The note was meant as an apology but Robbie accidently exchanged it with one confessed his physical attractions toward Cecilia. This note showed the different viewpoints on written text. For Cecilia, the note was a catalyst to realize her love for Robbie however, for Briony it contained a vulgar message. This was because Briony lacked the knowledge and maturity to fully comprehend. Briony does not understand the letter completely and therefore assumes that Robbie is the "villain". She decides that she will be the person who saves her sister to show her maturity and understanding of the adult

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