Sunday, February 20, 2011

Atonement by Ian McEwan


Atonement is the story of an annoying little twelve year old girl named Briony who enjoys making up stories. The novel starts off the day her older brother Leon is returning home from college and she plans to put on a play for him and his friend called "The Trials of Arabella" along with her cousins, a girl and two boys, that are staying with her family. Earlier that day she saw a scene with her older sister Cecilia and the son of one of the maids, Robbie Turner, and came to the conclusion that Robbie was some sort of "sex maniac." In actuality the two have fallen in love. That night the two boy cousins run away and everyone goes out to search for them. Briony is by herself searching in the woods and stumbles on a man raping her cousin Lola. She's not sure who it was, but tells the police it was Robbie. Robbie is then sentenced to jail and eventually enlisted into the army for WWII. Robbie and Cecilia never see eachother again and they both die before Robbie's tenure in the army is up. In the end Briony realizes it was her brother's friend who raped her cousin. The reader also realizes by the end that the book was actually written by Briony and that it was her "atonement" for what she did to her sister and Robbie.

1.Do you think that any amount of apology could make up for what Briony did to her sister?

15 comments:

Megan L.11-12 said...

I think every young child makes up stories to make themselves seem bigger and better, and not that I condone her actions but in the real world he wouldn't just be sentenced automatically, there would be an investigation. I think after years and years one would understand that she was just a little girl and she made up a story to account for what she was unsure of. I would be upset by her actions but I wouldn't blame her for her whole life. Instead I would blame the police for not investigating farther, or for Lola for not speaking up against Robbie's friend.

Steve S 13-14 said...

I agree with Megan, this is a very unreasonable situation, and if it had been investigated further, there would have been no reason to be mad

SeanK56 said...

You have to remember it said WWII, they didn't have DNA testing and stuff like that back then, police could do nothing but trust the only witness. I don't think I could ever forgive someone doing that to me. Ruining my potential marraige and sending him to jail? I'd be very angry.

Kyle P. 13-14 said...

I agree Megan that it was also a good deal of Lola's fault because she knew that it was Robbie's friend but didn't want to get him in trouble. They actually end up getting married later in the book, which is kind of messed up....

Kyle P. 13-14 said...

And Steve their is an investigation but it pretty much boils down to Briony's word against Robbie's and since she's the daughter of a well off family and he's just the son of a servant he gets arrested.

Bojana D 11.12 said...

No way. I would be angry if the guy I loved was forced to leave me forever because of a stupid lie my sister made up. If I was Robbie, I would be even angrier as an innocent man forced to go to WWII. Even if Briony is "too young" and if making up stories is common for young children, this story ruined two peoples' lives.

Kaitlyn H 11-12 said...

I don't think any amount of apology could make up for what Briony did to her sister. By making the one lie saying that she saw it was Robbie, she changed her sister's entire life and got Robbie in trouble for something he didn't do. If I were Cecilia, I wouldn't forgive my sister. I hate when people lie. Especially when it hurts people in the long run that don't deserve it.

MaryL11-12 said...

No I don't think any amount of apology could make up for making up something severe. If my little sister did that to me I don't know if I would ever truly forgive her. That one little lie ruined the lives of many people.

Kali D. 13-14 said...

I don't think i would be able to forgive my little sister for something this extreme. She may be young but still a lie is a lie. No matter what i would always be angry with her for ruining a relationship i had.

Leah A 5-6 said...

I also believe that I would not be able to forgive my little sister for something like this. Her lie ruined lives for her sister and others in the novel. If my sister had done that to me I don't think I could ever look at her the same.

Hayley D 11/12 said...

I honestly don't think that any amount of apology could make up for what Briony did. Even though she is only 12 years old, she made a huge mistake. She could have at least told someone else, instead of going directly to the police. Her one assumption ruined so many people's lives, which makes it hard for someone to easily forgive her.

Kristen T. 11-12 said...

It's hard to say, because I think that every young child makes up stories here and there. This is normal, it helps improve their imagination. This story, unfortunately had big consequences. If I were Cecilia I'm not sure that I could forgive my sister for what she did. It is okay for children to make up stories, but they have to learn that enough is enough and that certain lines shouldn't be crossed when making up stories.

James F (11-12) said...

1.there is not apology that can make up for what she did. he mistake caused her cousin to go to the army when he obviously didnt need to go. and in the end he dies because of it. her sister's rapist is also not being punished. now there is a rapist that could possibly scar other girls. this is all briony's fault. she cannot do a thing to be forgiven.

Julie S. 5-6 said...

I think that with the amount of damage caused there could be forgiveness but there could never be that sister relationship. A sister should be someone you can trust and that is completely gone. It would take a really strong person to forgive her completely.

Mrs. Sherwood said...

Thread closed