Telling the Truth - Atonement + Poems

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How has your understanding of the concept of ‘Telling the Truth’ been enhanced by your study of the film Atonement and at least two poems that have been studied in class.

The concept of telling the truth is a complex idea. The truth can vary based on an individual’s perspective and may be distorted by experience and misunderstanding. It is a creeping assumption of the modern world that there are things more important that the truth. The truth may also be covered up because it is difficult for people to cope with. These ideas are explored in Joe Wright’s film Atonement and the Poems ‘Homecoming’ by Bruce Dawe and ‘Mirror’ by Sylvia Plath. All texts are post modernism texts.
In Joe Wright’s film Atonement the idea of the truth depends on an individual’s perspective is explored. The truth is many-sided and everyone’s perception of what they believe to be the truth may be different. In the fountain scene it expresses how Briony and Cecilia’s perspective are completely opposite yet they both saw the series of events that took place. The window acts as a barrier to Briony understanding of the truth. Robbie’s stance and the way Cecilia is standing after she jumps out of the fountain makes Cecilia look vulnerable. It makes it seems as though Robbie is forcing her to do what he wants. Briony thinks that Robbie has some sort of power of her sister, this is where she starts to think badly of Robbie. This is especially evident when he yells stop and hold out his arm to prevent her from stepping on the bits of vase, but to Briony it just looks forceful. This scene clearly demonstrates how Briony creates a whole different perspective on what was happening down at the fountain in relation to the reality of the situation. Due to Cecilia’s frustration and anger it makes it appear as though she was being forced. The non-diegetic sounds during this scene are effective as they help to create an suspenseful and tense atmosphere. In Briony’s shot there is faint music playing in



References: to bodies in “green plastic bags”, shows the lack of individuality that the soldiers received. Although these soldiers have made the crucial sacrifice by giving up their lives, the fact that they got little recognition for this emphasises how war is dehumanising. The lack of full stops express that the war was continuous and that there was no time to stop and relax. Dawe ultimately wants to expose the brutal truth in contrast to what people thought. With the use of imagery throughout, Dawe is able to establish the pointlessness of war and clarifying the misconceptions those may have had on the war. This relates to how Briony in Atonement has the false understanding or knowledge of war, not knowing what she has sent Robbie into. Dawe uses aural and visual poetic techniques and is able to provoke sympathy, by manipulating the audience to reflect upon his own views towards war. Similarly what Briony does in making up the end of the story of her sister and Robbie in how she believed the event of war was, this was until she became a nurse and the real truth of war was unveiled. The concept of telling the truth has been enhanced through the study of the film Atonement and the poems “Homecoming” and “Mirror”. Each individual has their own perception on what they believe the truth to be. In Atonement Briony has a different perspective than Cecilia which results in conflict and hiding the truth as she is too scared to face it. “Homecoming” reflects the idea that people prefer to deny or ignore the truth. ‘Mirror’ and ‘Homecoming’ show that the truth can be frightening or unbearable and therefore difficult to share. This then shows how the truth is dependent on the individual’s perspective.

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