Implications For Necession In Ian Mcewan's Atonement

987 Words 4 Pages
In Ian McEwan’s award winning novel, Atonement, an impassioned Briony Tallis must make amends for her cruel and false accusations against her sister Cecilia’s love interest, Robbie. McEwan invites us to analyze who can achieve atonement and through what means one must achieve it. Throughout the novel, we see Briony mature and eventually seek forgiveness for her false accusation of Robbie as a rapist. Briony, through the writing of her novel, searches for a way to not just receive forgiveness from Robbie and Cecilia, but also from herself. It is a debate amongst critics whether Briony can really attain forgiveness for her wrongdoings or not—especially as she is the “author” of her own story. The act of writing the novel itself is a testament to Briony’s guilty conscience and desire to make things right.
Literary scholars have taken very strong sides in the debate about whether Briony can really achieve atonement and how we should read the novel ourselves as readers. Kathleen D’Angelo in her article “To Make a Novel” claims that Briony’s “attempts to make amends for her crime though fiction will inevitably fail” (88). D’Angelo also discusses the implication of the novel on the
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In his article “Briony’s Stand Against Oblivion: The Making of Fiction in Ian McEwan’s ‘Atonement’”, he cites McEwan, “Novels are not about teaching people how to live but about showing the possibility of what it is like to be someone else… Cruelty is the failure of imagination” (Finney 80). Briony’s novel is her way of imagining herself in Cecilia and Robbie’s shoes. Finney says, “Narration is an act of interpretation” (79). Through her narration, Briony is attempting to interpret the effect her actions had on not just her, but on Robbie and Cecilia as well. Atonement is Briony’s attempt at imagining herself as these two characters whose lives her “failure of imagination destroyed”

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