English essay - Phoebe Pugh
Choose 4 points of interest in the novel Atonement and one Harwood poem and examine how the theme of breaking free is examined. Similarities, differences, which of the themes
The novel ‘Atonement’ and the Harwood poem ‘Prize Giving’ both examine the concept of breaking free, through the breaking of societal and gender conformities. Breaking free is seen in ‘Atonement’ through McEwan creating changing perspectives of his characters through a narrative and them breaking free from the conforms of traditional class and gender roles. This idea links to ‘Prize Giving’, as Professor Eisenbart also breaks free from the conforms of his society.
In chapter 4 of ‘Atonement’, Cecelia is frustrated and feels like she doesn’t belong. The expectations of being a woman at that time and one of her class are limited, and she doesn’t know what to do with her life. She has been to university, but as she is female she is unable to obtain a degree. Her mother thinks she has wasted her time at university, but Cecelia wants to make something of her life but doesn’t know how to. Women are expected to marry young, and Cecelia is feeling pressure from her mother as she is nearing the age considered ‘too old’ to be married. This is shown through the quote when Cecelia meets Paul Marshall, “Cecelia wondered, as she often did when she met a man for the first time, if this was the one she was going to marry”. Cecelia’s desperation towards finding a suitable husband is conveyed through a number of small meaningless acts that Paul does to Cecelia, such as staring at her while she speaks and lightly touching her arm when she walks past him. She is hoping that Paul is showing a romantic interest in her when really he is just doing aimless actions. In this point of the novel Cecelia is trying to break free from the repressions caused by her gender, but doesn’t know how to. She realises the phoniness of her world and how all women of high class are expected to...
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