Ian McEwan is considered to be one of the most important English novelists. He studied at the University of East Anglia together with Malcolm Bradbury and August Wilson, and began winning awards from the dawn of his career. He received a number of awards for his historical novel Atonement. The story describes an event before the war in which Robbie Turner is falsely convicted of the rape of a young girl called Lola – mainly because of the flawed testimony of Lola’s cousin, 13-year old Briony Tallis. Before the accusation, Briony witnessed consensual sex between Robbie and her own sister Cecilia but largely misunderstood the scene. Robbie is imprisoned and then goes to war, where he is taken from Dunkirk beach and returns to his love, Briony’s sister Cecilia. Briony, who has become a nurse, tracks the two of them down and vows to begin the legal procedure necessary to exonerate Robbie. In 1935 Briony lives in England in her family`s estate. At the age of 13, she writes stories and for the celebration of her eldest brother homecoming, she wrote the play Trials of Arabella. Thirteen-year-old girl wanted to perform the play at the family dinner together with her cousins. During that occasion starts the story atonement.Briony`s misunderstanding of some events becomes the reason for the painful separation between Robbie and Cecilia, the wrong accuse of an innocent boy and the possible liberation of guilty. This is where the story unfolds and describes the belated awareness of her destructive lie.At the beginning, Briony is shown as an organized and neat girl, who wants to control everything. She wants to grow faster. Furthermore her nurtured childhood becomes obvious when she gives certain accusations of seeing Robbie raping Lola. Her opinion for Robbie changes when Briony comes across at the lovers (Robbie and Cecilia) into the library. Earlier Robbie has given Briony a letter for Cecilia, the thirteen-year-old girl read it without permission and saw some inappropriate words, and not understanding that Robbie had given her the wrong letter, she made conclusions and considered him a “maniac”. Based on these events Briony believed that she had really seen Robbie and Cecilia commiting an adultery(has seen Robbie, doing what?) . And these accusations were her attempt to feel important and in the limelight. She believed that by giving false information she had a chance to relive her dreams to be in the spotlight, just like in her play. Her craveing for attention is also seen in the beginning when she thought that she is the perfect fit for her play and didn`t want to give Lola the leading role. This is confirmation for her need to feel older and mature enough to understand what is going on between Robbie and Cecilia when in reality, she is nothing but a thirteen years old immature girl.In the period between Briony`s 13th and 77th year, her life is shown to the readers as a story within a story. She chooses to be a nurse, to help the soldiers over attending Cambridge, and decides to become something more useful for the society, for the soldiers among which is Robie himself(Robbie is one of them). I think that Briony`s choice of becoming a nurse is some kind of her atonement, a way to free from her guilt. She wrote the story “Two figures by the fountain” which is her attempt to tell the true story and more importantly to admit to herself that she has done something destructive. She twisted the fate of two innocent enamoured people, made their happy end impossible. In her book, she made up the story about visiting her sister and Robbie In London, when actually they both died in the war. In her story she gave them their “happy ending”, living by the ocean, in one charming “cottage in Wiltshire”(194). This act is her last attempt for atonement by giving the two lovers a happy life which they deserve. In the end, she also reveals that she is dying from a disease called vascular dementia. Ian Mcewan deprives Briony of her memory as a sign of final kindness, it is not atonement but is some kind of catharsis.
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