McEwan embodies the guilt illustrated throughout the novel with the element of symbolic references: “how guilt refined the methods of self-torture, threading the beads of detail into an eternal loop, a rosary to be fingered for a lifetime” (162). The literature critic, Brain Finney expresses McEwan’s “fascination with evil or illicit behavior [that]…‘projected [a] sense of evil in [his] stories…one tires to imagine the worst thing possible in order to get hold of the good’” (69). McEwan makes the reference to a rosary, which is a religious symbol that corresponds to the novel’s title, suggesting Briony may not only carry her guilt forever, but that there ...
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...he theme of guilt that builds within Briony character and writing. The structure of limitations provided by McEwan’s highlights the emotions of Briony herself. As the critic Finney addresses the narrative form, McEwan presents the corruption of the negative appearance displayed in the writing of the narrator her self. Briony uses the novel to atone for her sins, in a way to make up for the foolish acts she as committed, giving the readers sympathy to forgiver for her actions. The inability to achieve atonement is demonstrated within the novel continuously highlights the element of guilt. The attempt at atonement helped Briony, which alludes the over all theme that the ability to achieve atonement is in the hands of the beholder. Untimely, the consequences amplified the writing style that conveyed the understanding of the selfish actions that tore apart two lovers.
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