Analysis Of ' The Self Pity Briony ' By Briony Tallis Essay

Analysis Of ' The Self Pity Briony ' By Briony Tallis Essay

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Briony Tallis is a character that has to have the world and its occupants in line with her wishes. By having these high expectations, she sets herself up for failure when people fail to live up to her assumptions of them. This causes her to give a bias and unreliable retelling of her life through the novel Atonement. The self-pity Briony generates for herself drives many of her relationships to breaking point and beyond, therefor she changes the characters, like herself, Cecilia and Robbie, to fit how she sees them not necessarily how they really were.
Briony is introduced to us as a thirteen-year-old girl, one that could be borderline obsessive compulsive drawing from her need to be tidy and control everything around her, including her environment and people. "She was one of those children possessed by a desire to have the world just so" (McEwan, 2001). So much so, in fact, that in the entire upstairs of her family 's enormous house, her bedroom is the "only tidy […] room" (McEwan, 2001), by having all her toys and belongings in an exact and perfect position she is playing god. This further proves that Briony must have everything in the order that she wants it to be; she has to be in total control. Briony 's passion for neatness is where her love for writing and creativity comes from. In stories, you see, she can control everything; she can tie up the loose ends and make sure everything fits into the boxes she chooses. She is at first enthralled with the idea of writing plays because "a universe reduced to what was said in it was tidiness indeed" (McEwan, 2001). This is how she fixes the mistakes she has made and consequences she has caused. By creating the fictional happy ending for Cecilia and Robbie that she wished actually h...


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...aking up for this was to construct an ending to the story in which Cecilia and Robbie do end up together, happy and healthy. Briony recognizes that she is not directly at fault for their deaths, but if it were not for her foolish false accusations then neither of the lovers would be where they were and may have escaped their untimely deaths.
Robbie was not the sex maniac that Briony portrayed him as, nor was Cecilia the condescending brat that she was shown as. Briony’s most gross misrepresentation was of herself. In her young days she was controlling and manipulative, but no matter what, saw herself as the victim. This bias colored the way in which the audience sees characters such as Robbie, Cecilia and Briony to such an extent that there is no accurate representation of how they truly were outside of Briony’s prejudicial narration throughout the novel Atonement.

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