A tone analysis on Atonement
In the novel, Atonement, Ian McEwan tells the tale of a young girl, Briony Tallis, and her efforts to live with a lie she told when she was 13 years old about her older sister’s boyfriend being involved with the raping of Briony’s cousin. This then sends Robbie, the accused, to prison and 3 years later, into the army. All this time Briony is suffering with the consequences of her jealousy stuck lie. Through Briony’s lie, McEwan demonstrates a tone of condemnation toward the family environment- criticizing parenting in the 1930’s. While crafting the life of Briony before the reader’s eyes, McEwan left a tone of condemnation toward Briony’s parents. Though the suffering of Briony throughout the novel and her hardships personally on the subject of her lie, McEwan is internally critiquing the parenting style of the families in the 1930s’s. He is suggesting that without the child coming first with in the home and learning by the teaching of the parents, the child does not learn the moral and social values required to live a respectful and responsible life. In this case, it is suggested the Briony was not showed how to deal with her feelings and instead used her anger and jealousy to formulate a lie. McEwan is demonstrating his distaste for the lack of teachings done in the homes of that 1930’s. During this time, money was tight for most families and instead of thinking about the child’s moral and social tendencies they were concerned with health and wellbeing foremost. This led to a generation lacking the ability to act socially acceptable in society. Thus contributing to Briony’s lie overall. The act of the lie itself is another critique toward the parenting of the 1930’s. The fact that Briony felt she needed to lie was a parenting problem. Briony should have felt able to go tell an adult what she saw (the rape and other sexual activities) before she told a lie about the situation, changing many lives. Briony’s confused feels drove...
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