Review on the Novel Atonement

Topics: Novel, Ian McEwan, Love Pages: 3 (1194 words) Published: April 24, 2012
Review on Atonement

It is not often that the protagonist of a story be the anathema of the story as well and it is even more of a rarity that the particular character be a young child. Yet, this is exactly what Ian McEwan has done with his Crime Novel, Atonement. McEwan intentionally turns his readers against Briony Tallis, a young girl transitioning from the naivete of childhood into the new and confusing years of adolescence; a point in one's life when mistakes are dubbed as necessary stepping stones to further understand one's self rather than life long regrets and unsubduable self-loathing. McEwan takes the innocence of childhood and juxtaposes it with despicable crimes and unchangeable mistakes, thus creating a protagonist the reader despises. Just as political conflicts start to unravel towards World War Two, so does Atonement begin. Briony, an aspiring writer, is preparing to produce and preform her first play, The Trials of Arabella, just in time for her older brother Leon, home from University, to see it. Attending along with her older brother is her elder sister, Cecilia, the Tallis' life long family friend, Robbie Turner, some friends of Leon's from school, and three cousins. She demanded perfection from herself and yearned attention for it. Her desire for perfection can be read as a need for control, which she finds within the depths of her imagination and thus the act of writing itself. It is during the hours before her play that Briony allows her imagination to escape the limits of pages and ultimately manipulate the reality of the people around her. Inherently frightened and confused by what she does not understand, Briony witnesses a flirtation between Robbie and Cecilia, and from there, makes decisions that change all their lives. And so a young girl who thought herself the heroine of her own drama, will find she is the villain of someone else's. The transition from childhood to adolescence can feel isolating and uncontrollable, which is...
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