Misperceptions

Occasionally one’s mind so badly wants to believe something that one is able to fully convince themselves that it is true, even if that means they’re living a lie. This is what the character Briony does in the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan. Briony is a thirteen year old girl, who writes plays and stories to attempt to prove her maturity and to help her comprehend love. This attempted maturity leads her to misperceive the relationship between her sister, Celia, and her gardener, Robbie. This misperception then leads to catastrophic consequences that leave Briony riddled with guilt. To further understand Briony and her thoughts and actions the theory of Psychoanalysis can be used to understand her character. Psychoanalysis was founded by Sigmund Freud, “ it is a theory that emphasizes the influence of the subconscious mind on behavior.” ( Freud ) Mcewan fabricated Briony as an innocent character who can’t comprehend the reality of certain relationships, leading her to false accusation, a subconscious desire to sabotage her sisters love, and misrepresent the truth. Atonement explores the relationship between the conscious events that occur and the different subconscious view of Briony.The first thing to consider is how Briony’s subconscious mind led her to falsely view robbie. Briony’s views of many events are skewed because of her subconscious mind, one of those events being the fountain scene. During the fountain scene Celia and Robbie drop a vase into the fountain, so Celia has to dive into the fountain to get the vase , and to do this she has to take off her clothes. Briony watches this scene from a window up above and sees Celia taking off her clothes and what looks like Robbie directing her to do so. Immediately all Briony can think is, “ What strange power did he have over her? Blackmail? Threats? ( Mcewan 38) These thoughts from Briony can be explained by Freud’s explanation, which says,“ Part of the mind beyond consciousness which nevertheless has a strong influence upon our actions and thoughts.” ( Lumen ) Briony pictures this scene as a fairytale that she can write about where the damsel in distress gets rescued, which excites her. Briony has been raised and taught to think this way because her parents never discussed there relationships, so all she has ever known about love is from the stories she reads. According to Briony this fountain scene made “ some kind of revelation occur” ( Mcewan 39) This revelation leads her to start her novel on the events she just witnessed, which leads her to making more fiction out of the reality that had occured. Briony’s subconscious mind can be explained through Freud’s explanation because of the way she was brought up and how books were her only way of understanding love.Briony’s extensive imagination is created through her repression of conflicts and desires. This imagination leads her to falsely understand relationships, and convince herself to believe a lie. As explained before Briony’s parents marriage isn’t the most stable one with her dad being at work at most times. Because of this, Briony’s imagination fabricates stories of perfect relationships and love and expects the real world to be a fantasy. This can be explained by Freud’s theory of repression “ forgetting or ignoring unresolved conflicts unadmitted desires or traumatic past events so that they are forced out of the conscious awareness and into the realm of the unconscious.” ( Freud ) This explanation can also be implemented into the idea of Briony’s childhood “crush” on Robbie. “ For three years she must of nurtured a feeling for him, kept it hidden, nourished it with fantasy or embellished it in her story.”( 301) This crush would make sense because Briony had to hide her secret desire for Robbie for so long that all of her feelings got tangled up in her unconscious mind. This lead Briony’s imagination to such a chaotic point that she was able to convince herself that Lola’s rapist was Robbie. Briony’s imagination can be explained by Freud’s theory of repression that lead Briony to falsely understand Robbie and Celia’s relationship, and believe that an innocent man was guilty. Briony feels so guilty for the pain she has caused her sister and Robbie that she follows in her sister’s footsteps and becomes a nurse. This is what Freud’s theory would call sublimation which means “ the transforming of an unacceptable impulse whether it be anger, sex or fear or anything into a socially acceptable form.” In Briony’s case her feelings of regret lead her to subconsciously want to follow in her sister’s footsteps and become a nurse. While Briony is working as a nurse she helps out an injured soldier, this is where “ she learned a simple and obvious thing she had always known and always knew ; that a person is amoung all else, a material thing, easily torn, not easilly mended.” (281)

Our dedicated nursing writer will craft your paper of
any complexity
FOR YOU

just from only $13.90/page


order my paper

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

x

Hello, dear nurse!

We are happy to help with your assignment, so please place your order using the link below!

Click here to proceed