Analysis Of Ian Mcewan 's ' Atonement ' Essay

Analysis Of Ian Mcewan 's ' Atonement ' Essay

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The beauty of life lies in its balance between success, happiness, misfortune, and one’s ability to rise from failures. Life naturally generates enjoyable, significant moments in which we tend to embrace and treasure. It is often desirable and convenient, however, to avoid facing the hardships brought upon us in life because accepting or persevering through such challenges can mark change and rude awakenings. In particular, the transition into adulthood often involves traumatic or distressing experiences similar to the ones that the protagonists Robbie Turner and Briony Tallis face in Atonement. For these characters, a significant traumatic event occurs as Robbie’s private, personal letter unintentionally makes its way into the hands of the naïve Briony. By highlighting this trauma and the character’s reactions in Part One of this novel, author Ian McEwan suggests that the best way for one to deal with life’s traumas is to face them in order to recognize the choices one has made and rise from adversity.
Through hyperbolic language and precise word choice, McEwan hints at the notion that one can choose to ignore a traumatic situation to avoid recollecting or experiencing it again. The character Robbie Turner puts himself in a traumatic situation when he breaks a vase that belongs to his friend Cecilia. In this encounter, Robbie feels humiliated as “torture was his punishment… He should never see her again” (McEwan 76). This emotional torture that Robbie experiences causes him to have the urge to put this situation behind him. McEwan’s choice to describe Robbie’s seemingly painful experience as “torture” highlights how unbearable and undesirable this situation is for him. Ending an incident like this once and for all by avoiding it...


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...ot have been the best ones. Without facing their traumas head on, these characters would not have been able to evaluate their past choices.
Through deep character perspectives, McEwan is able to carefully illustrate one’s need to face traumatic and painful life experiences rather than to ignore them. Though ignoring such traumas appears to spare one from suffering, McEwan ultimately builds upon a stronger point that addressing and facing these traumas will benefit one emotionally and achieve assurance, while also providing the opportunity to reflect on past decisions. All of Robbie’s and Briony’s realizations of their choices would not have taken place if they hadn’t faced their life traumas. It is crucial to approach life’s challenges and seek the ability to rise from them. One should see this confrontation of trauma as a chance to learn life lessons and flourish.

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