Atonement Essay

517 WordsJun 30, 20113 Pages
McEwan’s main character in ‘Atonement’, Briony Tallis, was only 13 when she sent an innocent man to jail. Robbie Turner was convicted of raping 15 year old Lola Quincy. He was sentenced on Briony’s accusations’ alone; there was no proof. McEwan wrote Briony as a character with annoying personality traits, to show she was the ‘bad guy’ in the story. Briony aspired to be a writer, but later gave this up to follow in her sisters footsteps and become a nurse. Briony did this to escape her family and spend her time helping the sick and injured. Though she technically escaped her past and moved away, she never forgot what she did, or forgave herself. The fact that Briony still feels guilty is evident in the book she begins to write; ‘Two figures by a fountain’. The book shows Robbie and her sister Cecilia in a good light; it shows them as wonderful people. Briony has done this in an attempt to tell the truth. Another way Briony tries to escape her past, but fails, is in the final pages of the book. Briony is a dying old lady who is taken back to her childhood house to watch a play she wrote back the day before she accused Robbie. By doing this McEwan has shown it is possible to hide the past; however it is not possible to escape it as Briony returns to the scene of the crime. Like Briony, McEwan has made it impossible for Robbie Turner to escape his past. Robbie hated life in jail. He longed to be free with the girl he loves, Cecilia and because of this Robbie took up an offer to go to Dunkirk during the war which evidently killed him. If in the past Robbie hadn’t gone to jail, he wouldn’t have died of septicaemia, and would possible still be alive. He also would have had the chance to become an officer, which may not have put him in the front line during the war and possibly decreased his chance of getting shot, therefore for Robbie it was impossible to escape his past

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