How Do the Authors of Atonement and the Kite Runner Use a Variety of Techniques in Their Exploration of Guilt?’

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Jealousy and the need of attention are both very powerful feelings that can lead any young child or adult to act out in unusual and sometimes hurtful ways. But the feeling of guilt after committing these actions is what evokes the need to atone for the effects we have caused. Ian McEwan author of the novel Atonement and Khaled Hosseini author of the novel The Kite Runner, which have both been produced in to famous blockbuster movies, both use a vast range of techniques to explore the idea of Guilt. The plot in both novels run parallel with each other as the young protagonists make an unforgivable decision and then find themselves trying to atone for the wrongs they have committed as the plot progresses. Unfortunately this process to atonement is not as simple as they believe it will be and find themself on a journey of guilt, self discovery and pain.

Atonement begins on a hot summers day in 1935, in the luscious grounds of the Tallis’ family estate. Written in a third person narrative, McEwan moves in and out through the minds of the characters. Briony a co-protagonist of the story is thirteen years old when the novel first begins and does not understand the relationship between her sister Cecilia and the gardener Robbie Turner. After reading a sexual note Robbie sent to Cecilia and later walking in on them during a sexual act in the library, Briony convinces herself that Robbie is a ‘sex maniac’. Brionys taste for drama and demand for attention lead her to wrongly accuse Robbie of raping her cousin Lola and later finds herself trying to atone for the terrible lie she told. “There was our crime – Lola’s, Marshall’s, and mine – and from the second version onward, I set out to describe it. I’ve regarded as my duty to disguise nothing – the names, the places, the exact circumstances – I put it all there as a matter of historical record”. McEwan has structured the novel into three different sections and a concluding chapter. Part One is the introduction of...
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