Theme Of Guilt In Atonement

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Ian McEwan is one of the most outstanding modern English writers. His novel Atonement was published in 2001 and it became a real event in the cultural life of the whole world. This novel remarkably differs in style and content from the earlier books of Ian McEwan. It has no abnormalities, descriptions of atrocities or sex. The book consists of four parts and the actions take place in three time layers. This is the novel researching such complex issues as guilt, forgiveness and atonement.
The first concept researched by Ian McEwan in Atonement is guilt. Guilt is represented through several dimensions but in the beginning of the novel the author gives nothing except some hints that this will be a story about the immense power of guilt. The
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Briony interprets them incorrectly and concludes that Robbie is a dangerous maniac. Her suspicions grow stronger when it turns out that someone raped Lola. Briony gives testimony that it was Robbie and he is sent to prison. A distinct tension is o felt in the novel because the author clearly hints that that Briony Tallis will have to commit some kind of crime. Ian McEwan even gives clues for the understanding the essence of this crime. He indicates that “Briony was lost to her writing fantasies—what had seemed a passing fad was now an enveloping obsession” (McEwan 17). The essence of Briony’s crime was in her obsession and in her writing fantasies. She unjustly accuses Robbie and triggers the tragedy which will ruin many lives. From …show more content…
The essence of forgiveness Ian McEwan discloses by making his characters go through sufferings, deaths, tears and blood. This part of the novel is a military one. In this part Robbie, who was prematurely released from prison, goes to war. He takes part in the actions of the British Army which is retreating to Dunkirk for the evacuation of British troops. Readers also get to know that Cecilia and Robbie write letters to each other. Cecilia broke off relations with her family and does not want to communicate with her sister. Cecilia and Briony work as nurses and take care of the wounded soldiers. It should be mentioned that Briony performs this work without grumbling because she is moved by a sense of guilt and her desire to earn forgiveness. Soon it becomes evident that all her accusations were false because Briony finds out that Marshall and Lola got married. She realizes that she slandered Robbie. After attending Lola’s wedding Briony encounters Cecilia. She also sees Robbie in Cecilia’s flat. This episode becomes a crucial one because Briony finally finds forgiveness. Together they decide that Briony should renounce her testimony and that they should begin the process to justify Robbie. This part finishes with the hope given by the author who argues that “Briony was touched by her sister’s capacity for forgiveness” (McEwan

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