Topics: Narrative, Short story, Sin Pages: 3 (755 words) Published: April 3, 2012
Function of Storytelling

The novel Atonement by Ian MCewan and the short story “The Things They Carried” by Tom O'Brien both employ storytelling as a form of redemption. This is achieved in each text through the narrator's freedom to manipulate the content and truth of the narrative in order to amend past wrongs and to imagine a more comforting, alternate reality. In Atonement, the narrator , Briony uses her literal imagination to alter the story of her life in hope to seek redemption for past actions with great consequence, while the narrator in Tim O'Brien's “The Things They Carried” tells and retells his version of the memory to help it become real. Both narratives show storytelling to be a possible healing process.

P1-First step to redemption is to admit the reason for your deception. A novels allows narrator to confess the motive behind his/her sin.

Briony initial stage towards redemption is by confessing the dangers of interpretation. quote- To her“reading a sentence and understanding it were the same thing; as with the crooking of a finger, nothing between them. There was no gap during which symbols were unravelled”(37) -quote shows Briony's belief in the ease of interpretation which leads her to jump to conclusions she can never change. The blame for the tragedy is not only due to Briony's misinterpretation of events , but the misguided nature of interperation provided by books.

“The Things They Carried”
-The narrator describes the difficult conditions of war by describing the emotional and physical baggage they carry. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried the love letters from Martha. These horrible conditions forced Lieutenant cross to day dream about Martha which lead to Ted Lavender's death. -quote:told they carry “pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches...and two or three canteens of water” which weigh “ between 15 and 20 pounds”(241). -quote allows the reader to feel the overwhelming weight of being a soldier, which words can't simply...
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