ATONEMENT NOVEL PDF
Atonement: A Novel. Home · Atonement: A Novel Author: McEwan Ian. downloads Atonement a novel · Read more · Atonement: A Novel. Read more. His work was highly regarded before the publication of Atonement (a), but this particular novel continues to stand out as one of his greatest achievements to . Atonement, by Ian McEwan. About the Book On a hot summer day in , thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment's flirtation between her older.
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Atonement: I always look forward to his books, and this longish novel, I thought, evoked in the novel, I felt myself sinking into the world of Briony Tallis, so. On the hottest day of the summer of , thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her older sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain. Yet the novel isn't an atonement of. Briony's guilt, as she herself confesses. For the duration of writing the novel. McEwan's working title was An Atonement, but a .
Briony, the youngest child, is a precocious thirteen year old who aspires to be a writer even as she confronts the beginning of adolescence. Robbie Turner, the son of one of the Tallis's servants, is about to embark on a medical school career financed by Mr. Into to this household comes the Tallis's oldest son Leon, home on a weekend visit, and he brings a friend with him, a chocolate magnate who wants Britain to enter a war so that he can sell his candy bars to the Army.
Three young cousins of the Tallis family arrive on the same weekend, planning to stay until their parents work out the terms of a divorce. The first section of the novel explores the growing tensions surrounding the Tallis family, from the growing sexual attraction between Cecilia and Robbie to the bruises that cousin Lola has acquired on her arms.
After a late dinner one evening, the two youngest cousins run away from the house, and everyone present sets off to find them. Wandering in the dark on her own, Briony comes across someone raping her cousin Lola in a secluded spot, and based more on her own preconceptions and a strange scene she has witnessed than on visual evidence, she fingers Robbie as the culprit, paving the way for his trial and a DflSOn Sentence.
The shorter second section skips ahead to the Second World War, where Robbie is a foot soldier in France, retreating to Dunkirk as best he can. On his journey he sees the vivid consequences of the war on both clvilians and combatants alike, and his arrival at the beaches of Dunkirk only shows him how the British Army can turn on its own.
All around him he sees guilty faces and crimes for which he is unable to atone. The third section finds Briony desperately trying to atone for her crime against Robbie by worklng as a nurse in London and all but abandoning her literary aspirations. She is deeply concerned with making up the wrong that she committed years before and decides to contact Cecilia about ways to make it right. In the short final section, we are given a picture of Briony in as an elderly novelist, returning to the old Tallis home for her 77th birthday.
She explains the ways in which that single event of long ago has affected every day of her life since and the lengths to which she has gone in order to seek out forgiveness and expiation -- to find atonement -- but doing so has been more difficult than she ever thought possible.
Questions: While answers are provided, there is no presumption that you have been given the last word. Readers bring their own personalities to the books that they are examining.
What is obvious and compelling to one reader may be invisible to the next. The questions that have been selected provide one reasonable access to the text; the answers are intended to give you examples of what a reflective reader might think. The variety of possible answers is one of the reasons we find book discussions such a rewarding activity. Why does Briony denounce Robbie so forcefully and maintain that position with such determination?
We see from the earliest pages of the novel that Briony has a great love for control. She has even come to enjoy writing, in fact, because it affords her the chance to organize and arrange life however she sees fit. Another was a passion for secrets: in a prized varnished cabinet, a secret drawer was opened by pushing against the grain of a cleverly turned dovetail joint, and here she kept a diary locked by a clasp, and a notebook written in a code of her own invention" p.
Control, power, knowledge of secrets -- all of these character traits of Briony appear early on and bear directly upon her behavior later in the story.
When she opens the letter from Robbie to Cecilia, it is her curiosity at work, her desire to know her sister's secrets, and it is the knowledge of this letter that first makes her believe Robbie t be a "maniac".
The coarsely worded letter becomes another piece of her own secret knowledge, and she spends much of the evening mulling over it, thinking up ways that she can help her sister escape from Robbie's evil clutches. She takes upon herself the determination to aid Cecilia without once consulting her sister's wishes, and she continues to believe that Cecilia dislikes Robbie even as she walks in on them having sex in the library.
The strength of her initial interpretation colors every other action that she witnesses that evening. There is also the issue of Briony's imagination, a powerful faculty of hers and one in which she puts great trust.
Though it serves her well enough in her writing, Briony is not yet wise enough to realize the limitations of imaginative speculation, and when she comes across Lola being raped outdoors in the darkness, she believes that her own reconstruction of the event and assailant are a sound basis for lodging an accusation -- even though she never saw the assailant and Lola refuses to identify him. With the idea that it must be Robbie firmly in her head, Briony does not even pause to consider the clear evidence in the form of scratches and bruises against Paul Marshall.
She makes her complaint against Robbie, even claiming to have seen him clearly, and never retreats from it or retracts it. Though Robbie pleads his innocence, Briony remains frrm in her testimony. As the narrator tells us towards the end of the first section, "And so their respective positions, which were to find public expression in the weeks and months to come, and then be pursued as demons in private for many years afterwards, were established in these moments by the lake, with Briony's certainty rising whenever hercousin appeared to doubt herself" p.
In this way of viewing the events, Briony appears almost noble, even if misguided, seeking only to defend her cousin and keep her from pain.
Only two pages on, though, we are given a less flattering portrait of her actions. The happiness and convenience of so many good people would be put at risk" p.
We have seen much earlier how Briony's own writing skills were often put to use in the service of securing attention for herself. Now, those same skills of imagination have gathered a great attention upon her and she is unable to do anything that would damage that.
She goes along with proceedings even as she begins to doubt her own role in them, but quickly sees that things have gone too far for her to change her story. Her imagination has led her to see Robbie in a fleeing shadow, while her love of power and attention lead her to keep playing her part long after she wants to keep doing so. What is the importance of the scene between Robbie and Cecilia at the fountain?
A photograph of a fountain with a large country house in the background graces the cover of Atonemenf, giving us a clue as to the pivotal importance of the confrontation there between Cecilia and Robbie if we did not pick it up from the story itself. The scene is simple enough, if a bit odd.
Cecilia takes a priceless vase out to the fountain to rinse it off, and Robbie talks to her there, offers to help. He reaches for the vase, Cecilia resists his help, and a piece breaks off and falls into the water.
Cecilia strips down to her underwear right in front of Robbie and plunges into the water to retrieve it. Unknown to both of them, Briony observes the scene from an upstairs window. The episode becomes representative of the problems of interpretation that plague the story.
Cecilia also struggles to understand what has happened, and for a while she has convinced herself that she is annoyed with Robbie, that he irritates her and has for some time, and that she doesn't want to see him again.
For his part, Robbie feels a surge of triumph but also the stirrings of sexual desire. It is their reflections uoon the fountain scene that both Robbie and Cecilia come to realize their own attraction to each other.
As the first moment of true sexual awareness between them, the fountain scene sets up the chain of events that are to follow. Robbie will dwell on Cecilia's body and write her the letter that falls into Briony's hands. Cecilia will reconsider ner feelings for Robbie and approach him sexually at the dinner party that evening.
Briony, watching from above, will use the scene as mental evidence of Robbie's maniacal nature and the threat that he poses to her sister.
The breaking of the vase and Cecilia's plunge into the fountain therefore form the core event of the novel's first section, the event that makes all the others possible in some way.
How does Robbie's march to Dunkirk relate to the rest of the book's themes?
The Dunkirk section of the novel is the only part to take place outside of England and initially seems to have little connection with the themes developed in the extended opening section. A close reading of Robbie's flight to Dunkirk, though, shows a connection between what he has suffered and the misery present in the rest of the world. It is a way of making Robbie's experience of unjust conviction into something larger than a single case of injustice. Robbie dwells often on the thought of Cecilia and on her letters to him, on the life that they might make together back in England, and his hope of total exoneration in Lola's rape.
Early in his story, he comes across a boy in a remote French village, a boy who has been blown apaft by some sudden act of violence, and whose body parts now dangle from a tree. Thrs image will haunt him on the entire hike back to Dunkirk, where the British are struggling to evacuate the continent as quickly as possible.
That boy, a noncombatant, causes Robbie to ponder questions of guilt and innocence that clearly relate to his own case, but also assume a wider dimension: is the world itself guilty at the core, and is there any hope for atonement? Everyone was guilty, and no one was. No one would be redeemed by a change of evidence The witnesses were guilty too" p. Later, there is a family dinner party attended by Briony's brother Leon and his friend Paul Marshall, who appears to have a lengthy scratch on his face.
Moments later it is discovered that the twins have run away.
The dinner party breaks into teams to search for them. In the darkness, whilst everyone is searching for the twins, Briony discovers her cousin Lola being raped by an assailant she cannot clearly see.
Lola is understandably unable or perhaps unwilling to identify the attacker — strongly hinted to be Marshall — but Briony decides to accuse Robbie and identifies him to the police as the rapist, claiming she has seen Robbie's face in the dark. Her previous misinterpretations of seeing Robbie and Cecilia's struggle at the fountain, the letter, and the scene she witnesses in the library, lead Briony to accuse Robbie of raping Lola, despite her having no solid proof that he was responsible.
Robbie is taken away to prison, with only Cecilia and his mother believing his protestations of innocence. Briony perceives her actions to be heroic, fulfilling her fantasies of the criminal being locked up, yet she is unaware of the impact her implications had. As a result of this, Cecilia cuts off her family and refuses to speak to them again. Robbie and Cecilia's lives are essentially destroyed within this single moment and as a result of a child's lie. He is released on the condition he enlist in the army.
Cecilia has trained and become a nurse. She has cut off all contact with her family because of the part they took in sending Robbie to jail.
Robbie and Cecilia have only been in contact by letter, since she was not allowed to visit him in prison. Before Robbie has to go to war in France, they meet once for half an hour, during Cecilia's lunch break. Their reunion starts awkwardly, but they share a kiss before leaving each other. In France, the war is going badly, and the army is retreating to Dunkirk.
As the injured Robbie goes to that safe haven, he thinks about Cecilia and past events like teaching Briony how to swim, reflecting on Briony's possible reasons for accusing him. His single meeting with Cecilia is the memory that keeps him walking; his only aim is seeing her again.
His condition deteriorates over the course of the section: He weakens and becomes delirious, and the text strongly implies that he is dying of his wound. At the end of part two, Robbie falls asleep in Dunkirk, one day before the evacuation begins. Part three[ edit ] Remorseful Briony has refused her place at Cambridge and instead is a trainee nurse in London. She has realised the full extent of her mistake and decides it was Paul Marshall, Leon's friend, whom she saw raping Lola.
Briony still writes, although she does not pursue it with the same recklessness as she did as a child. Briony is called to the bedside of Luc, a young, fatally wounded French soldier.
She consoles him in his last moments by speaking with him in her school French, and he mistakes her for an English girl whom his mother wanted him to marry. Just before his death, Luc asks, "Do you love me?
He was a lovely boy far away from his family and about to die. Briony attends the wedding of Paul Marshall and her cousin Lola — who has decided to "marry her rapist" — before finally visiting Cecilia. Robbie is on leave from the army, and Briony meets him unexpectedly at her sister's. Cecilia and Robbie both refuse to forgive Briony, who nonetheless tells them she will try to put things right. She promises to begin the legal procedures needed to exonerate Robbie, even though Paul Marshall will never be held responsible for his crime because of his marriage to Lola, the victim.
Postscript[ edit ] The final section, titled "London ," is narrated by Briony herself in the form of a diary entry. Now 77, she is a successful novelist who has recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia , so is facing rapid mental decline and death.
The reader learns that Briony is the author of the preceding sections of the novel. On the penultimate page, Briony reveals that Robbie Turner died of septicaemia — caused by his injury — on the beaches of Dunkirk, that Cecilia was killed by the bomb that destroyed Balham Underground station , and Briony never saw them in Briony did attend Lola's wedding to Marshall, but confesses she was too "cowardly" to visit the "recently bereaved" Cecilia to make amends.
The novel — which she says is factually true apart from Robbie and Cecilia's being reunited — is her lifelong attempt at "atonement" for what she did to them. Briony justifies her invented happy ending by saying she does not see what purpose it would serve to give readers a "pitiless" story.
She writes, "I like to think that it isn't weakness or evasion, but a final act of kindness, a stand against oblivion and despair, to let my lovers live and to unite them at the end. She is a thirteen-year-old at the beginning of the novel and takes part in sending Robbie Turner to jail when she falsely claims that he assaulted Lola.
Atonement: A Novel
Briony is part narrator, part character and we see her transformation from child to woman as the novel progresses. At the end of the novel, Briony has realised her wrongdoing as a "child" and decides to write the novel to find atonement. Cecilia Tallis — The middle child in the Tallis family, Cecilia has fallen in love with her childhood companion, Robbie Turner. After a tense encounter by the fountain, Robbie and she don't speak again until they meet before a formal dinner.
When Robbie is falsely accused of rape shortly after, Cecilia loses her love to jail and war, and chooses not to contact any members of her family again. Leon Tallis — The eldest child in the Tallis family, Leon returns home to visit. He brings his friend Paul Marshall along with him on his trip home.
Ian McEwan's Atonement
Emily is ill in bed for most of the novel, suffering from severe migraines. Jack often works late nights and it is alluded to in the novel that he is having an affair.The Child in Time , London: A close reading of Robbie's flight to Dunkirk, though, shows a connection between what he has suffered and the misery present in the rest of the world.
Search inside document. However, in respect to Part One, this is a case of external prolepsis because it anticipates events far beyond the timeframe of that day in Controversy[ edit ] In late , it was reported that romance and historical author Lucilla Andrews felt that McEwan had failed to give her sufficient credit for material on wartime nursing in London sourced from her autobiography No Time for Romance.
The childhood of a spoiled prince could be framed within half a page, a moonlit dash through sleepy villages was one rhythmically emphatic sentence, falling love could be achieved in a single word - a glance. It will be necessary to bear in mind the different settings of parts One, Two and Three as well as the use and non-use of chapter divisions.
Cecilia and Robbie both refuse to forgive Briony, who nonetheless tells them she will try to put things right.
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