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Omnipotence And Atonement Throu Self Reflective Narration

1956 words - 8 pages

Omnipotence and Atonement Through Self-Reflective Narration
At first glance, Atonement is a war-torn love story of two star-crossed lovers and simultaneously the life-long struggle of a girl who feels she, and her lies, are responsible for keeping the couple apart. It is not until the end of the novel that readers are told Briony Tallis, the aforementioned young troubled girl, wrote the whole novel and changed the truths about the fates of the lovers, Robbie and Cecilia. This revelation highlights the power of writers and their freedom to convey the truth or lies to readers. Briony utilizes her power as a writer to construct her whole life’s work to embody both lies to appease reader interest. Ultimately, the novel is meant to expose the ugly truth of the story’s origins and pay homage to the ill-fated lovers and allow Briony to redeem herself. Atonement emphasizes the control of writers in reader-writer relationships and Briony’s attempt redemption for her juvenile lies through themes of purity, shame, and penitence.
McEwan enriches themes of guilt and her pursuit for forgiveness through structured changes in time and Briony’s emotional responses. Briony Tallis grows up virtually an only child because she had followed years behind her older sister, Cecilia, and brother, Leon. The narration describes her birth as a difficult experience, leaving her mother ill and unavailable at most times, a majority of Briony’s life. She grows up with fictional literature and the desire to become a writer. Through over exposure to time occupying herself alone and reading of fictional works, Briony developed her own fictional world and view of life apart from reality around her. Her compulsion to control everything, perfection, and being the center of it all becomes apparent through her obsession with her readjustment of dolls and other trinkets. She even feels empowerment by hiding a box of small objects and memorabilia that she claims are her secrets though they hold no real value and would not matter to anyone else either way. When her play, “The Tales of Arabella” fails to succeed as she had anticipated, she feels as if she is a failure and has no control, a concept she has not experienced before. As seen through her mental depiction of Arabella and disappointment when Lola had assumed the role and had paled in comparison to her standards, Briony suffers from an inability to grasp reality and maintains exacerbated views of what things should be like and how she is fully capable of keeping things are under control. This necessary sense for control extends past her “dawn of her selfhood” into her adulthood and end of her life when she is still trying to make amends with Robbie and Cecilia (295). Briony fails to separate herself from her fictional world and face reality or grasp the fact that she would not be able to control and fix everything in what she feels is real life. She loses her ambiance of innocence and develops feelings of”adult emotion”...

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