Comparing Literary Fictions And Reality In Ian Mcewan's Atonement

725 Words 3 Pages
In Ian McEwan’s Atonement, the ending of the novel reveals the differences between Briony Tallis’s literary fictions and reality. In the final section of the book, “London, 1999,” it is revealed to the reader that the entire novel was written by Briony in an attempt to atone for the wrongful accusation that she gave as a child. She aims to do so by coming out with the true story. This can be seen in her earlier statement that “[s]he knew what was required of her. Not simply a letter, but a new draft, an atonement, and she was ready to begin” (McEwan 330). In the last few pages of the novel, it is revealed to the reader that the version of the novel that he or she read was one of many written by Briony in her “fifty-nine-year assignment” (McEwan 349). This suggests that the story was in someway changed between the versions. One such change involves the fate of Cecilia and Robbie. The last time that the reader sees the two is outside the Balham Underground station, and it is assumed that from that point on they live a happy life together, as little is said to counter that idea. However, this version of the story is shown to be fictitious, as Briony states that “Robbie Turner died of septicemia at Bray Dunes on 1 June 1940, [and] that Cecilia was killed in September of the same year by the bomb that destroyed Balham Underground station” (McEwan 350). Not only that, but Briony never visited Cecilia after Paul and Lola’s wedding, and Cecilia and Robbie were never

Related Documents