From the very beginning of the novel it had been made clear to us that McEwan’s diction was essential to understanding many of the core concepts present. Through a variety of literary elements, we can illustrate the correlation between his words and the story’s plot. McEwan’s style is verbose and archaic which contributes to the mood and tone of the story and his attention to detail is what generated a profound piece of literature that Atonement came to be.
In Chapter 1 of Atonement, McEwan has already introduced us to the eccentrically compulsive Briony who has recently written her own play. Immediately, McEwan introduces the story behind her play as its significance ties in with the foreshadowed conflict of the near future that lay ahead for Briony. The play is considered a universal symbol throughout the novel of what’s to come. There had been one sentence that had struck me as intelligible yet also ambiguous. “Deserted by him and nearly everybody else, bed-bound in a garret, she discovers herself in a sense of humor.” Upon finishing the book, I was finally able to comprehend what this meant in terms of tying the story together. This sentence illustrates an important concept of Atonement which is abandonment. Briony has been deserted and denied by her first love, Robbie, as she soon comes to discover his love for Cecilia. There is also a sense of abandonment from the Tallis family as well with the absence of her father and mother in her life which may have indirectly caused Briony to behave in such a controlling and obsessive manner. The phrase – “bed-bound in a garret” makes me visualize Emily Tallis and her condition which prevents her from nurturing and providing for her children. The absence of order in the Tallis household greatly contributed to the execution of Briony’s crime.
Another important concept that can be derived from this statement originates from the phrase “she discovers herself in a sense of humor.” Although this phrase can be...
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