Analysis Of ' Atonement ' By Ian Mcewan Essay

Analysis Of ' Atonement ' By Ian Mcewan Essay

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The human experience is riddled with unpalatable truths that we discover as we journey through life. Influencing our values and attitudes by deliberately challenging the reader with humanity’s unpalatable truths, Ian McEwan prompts the reader to consider our own moral compass through the character of Briony Tallis. During the course of ‘Atonement’, McEwan demonstrates that actions and words inevitably have consequences on not only the individual but also those surrounding them. Throughout the three fundamental stages of Briony’s complicated life, her coming of age story has developed in the unpalatable obstacle of atoning for her mistakes. In misunderstanding, Briony appears naive; she thinks she can control aspects of her own world, acting as God and foreshadowing the ending of the novel, but the unpalatable truth is that Briony could not have atoned due to the circumstances in which she ultimately caused. Acceptance in ‘Atonement’ is represented by Briony coming to terms with what she had done in the past, searching for penance, or amends – while Cecilia Tallis could not even think to forgive her sister for what has become of her mistake on that night in 1934. In the last part of the novel titled, ‘London 1999’, while seeking impossible forgiveness, Briony is confronted with the unpalatable truths that are accompanied with atoning.

‘Atonement’ features unpalatable truths about the multifaceted human condition, which we develop an awareness of as we make mistakes and confront obstacles in life. However, atoning for the mistakes can sometimes be difficult, or impossible. Briony omitted to telling her parents the truth about what she had witnessed – though at the time, she had thought it to have been Robbie, “[he] was a threat,”...


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... no one to atone to, that she is the person who decides outcomes relating to Robbie and Cecilia. Thus, in the stages of the human condition, one finds mortality within the power of words, while others have an ultimate demise.

In conclusion, the unpalatable truths of the human condition represented in texts confront readers as they are challenged to recognise life 's obstacles. Ian McEwan reflects such truths in his novel 'Atonement ', surrounding the morals of Briony Tallis, wherein her single mistake led to immense consequences. While in the further stages of her life, the unpleasant truths that the author has made the reader aware of are found in acceptance of miss accusation, and the ramifications of war. Thus, texts prompt us to become aware of fundamental truths of our humanity that may be unpleasant, heightening our understanding of what it means to be human.

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