Theme Of Sibling Rivalry In Atonement

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Sibling conflict is a familiar aspect in any family dynamic. However, there are times when the siblings involved feel so strongly that they are unable to ever find common ground. Ian McEwan’s historical novel, Atonement, tells the story in the perspective of a young girl, Briony Tallis, that delves into the ruined relationship between her and her older sister, Cecilia, after Briony tells a life-changing lie. McEwan provides a realistic example of the short and long term psychological, emotional, and physical effects that a sibling rivalry can prompt. The divide between the two once close sisters takes a toll on both Briony and Cecilia, and can ultimately be to blame for many of their negative life choices that occurred throughout the rest of…show more content…
In fact, there are many major studies that have occurred to attempt to understand the complexity of the sibling bond, and the conflicts that can occur within them. When these conflicts are ongoing throughout a long span of time, the individuals involved can be affected mentally, and can even lead to them making out-of-character decisions in their future. An interviewer from Psychology Today interviewed multiple adult siblings, many of which had experienced a major divide between them. When asked about their childhood, the individuals become “very analytical” and start “piecing together all that went wrong between them, thereby detailing the impossibility of ever finding common ground”…show more content…
One study finds that factors such as “birth order” and “birth intervals” have a hand in the way sibling relationships develop and thrive (Is Sibling Rivalry Fatal?). Another study found that “parental treatment, genetics, gender, life events, ethnic and generational patterns” as well as “people and experiences outside the family” can contribute to the dynamic of a sibling connection. Regardless of which factor is to blame, sibling rivalry can very quickly spiral out of control. A study done by Mike Brundrant came to the conclusion that “have found that sibling rivalry is often filled with psychological and physical aggression, which can traumatize children, leading to higher instances of depression, anxiety, and anger later in life” (Worse Than Bullying). In it’s most severe form, it can even lead to self-sabotage. These effects are never considered by today’s society when sibling arguments occur, and that is unfortunate because they are just as detrimental as any other emotional

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