In chapter 2 of Atonement, Ian McEwan introduces the character of Briony Tallis and establishes her as the central narrator of the novel. Through Briony's perspective, the reader is introduced to the idyllic world of the Tallis family and their stately home, the Ceylon Tea Plantation.
One of the most striking aspects of this chapter is the contrast between Briony's innocent and naive perspective and the more sophisticated and nuanced perspectives of the adult characters in the novel. As a 13-year-old girl, Briony is prone to flights of fancy and is not yet fully aware of the complexities and ambiguities of the adult world. This is particularly evident in her interactions with her older sister, Cecilia, and the family's housekeeper, Robbie Turner.
Briony's perception of Cecilia is heavily influenced by her own romanticized notions of love and sexuality. She sees Cecilia as a beautiful and desirable woman, but at the same time, she is also jealous of her sister's independence and freedom. This jealousy is compounded by Briony's own feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, which are heightened by her age and lack of experience.
In contrast, Robbie is presented as a more complex and enigmatic character. Despite his lower social status, Robbie is intelligent and ambitious, and he is clearly drawn to Cecilia in a way that Briony cannot fully understand. However, Briony's limited perspective leads her to misunderstand and misjudge Robbie's actions, and she becomes convinced that he is a threat to the family's reputation and well-being.
Throughout the chapter, McEwan uses Briony's narrative to explore themes of innocence, jealousy, and the limitations of perception. As the novel progresses, it becomes clear that Briony's limited understanding of the world will have far-reaching consequences for the characters and the plot. However, even as the novel delves into darker and more complex themes, the beauty and elegance of Briony's prose serves as a reminder of her youth and the enduring power of imagination.
The winter is full of dull work for Robbie. Eventually, the inspector guides Robbie into the car. Turner wonders whether his absent father served in World War I. The men pass the French cavalry methodically shooting their horses in defeat, and the bodies of a family lying in a ditch. While trying to understand why Briony would have accused him, Turner recalls a day in 1932 when Briony was ten years old and he took her to the river for a swimming lesson.
Eventually, the brothers enter the barn. Had Briony not accused Robbie of a crime he did not commit, Cecilia likely would have stayed with her family. That novel, Atonement itself, reverts to the model of nineteenth century fiction, in which a narrative deity controls everything. It is dark out, and although the corporals are already asleep and snoring, Turner is not able to sleep. Despite his efforts, Cecilia refuses to do so, disgusted with the way the accused him of rape and saw that an innocent man be put in prison based on the shaky testimony of a 13 year old girl. However, the three men ignore her warnings and take shelter in the barn, though they keep their weapons nearby.
When he wrote this to her, she responded by reminding them that every one of them turned against him, and in destroying his life they also destroyed hers. She then grabs her clothes from Robbie, dresses, and storms off to the house, leaving behind a confused Robbie at the fountain. Though they have known each other since childhood, Robbie realizes he is in love with Cecilia and writes her a letter that will change their fates forever. Briony watches the larger figure disappearing in the dark before going to Lola. He begins training immediately, further delaying the time he gets to see Cecilia.
A commotion starts up in the doorway: a puny Royal Air Force clerk is being hassled by soldiers, because the RAF did nothing to protect against German bombers. Neither Robbie as character in her story, nor Briony as narrator, are willing to let go of their dependence on literature notice it was in a library where Briony observes Robbie and Cecilia consummating their love. Robbie senses danger and runs for cover as a bomb falls and destroys a truck on the road. As her vision for the play unravels, Briony finds herself unraveling as well. The last date is today's date — the date you are citing the material. He got there early and sat at a corner table, enjoying the freedom and embracing everyday life. When the figure begins moving and then breaking apart, she realizes it is two people.
Acutely aware of the disparity between her version of the sexual assault on Lola and what actually happened that evening, she has finally finished creating a richer, more reliable account. Writing in only one form would not be enough for Right away we are given a "leg in a tree. Analysis This section is mostly flashback to what happened between the night of Briony's accusation of Robbie and the start of the war. As Turner falls asleep, he thinks of how his guilt will be overturned but understands that, due to the war, no one is without guilt any longer. Later Turner gets up and goes out into the black night. Summary Briony's sister, When Robbie mentions the subject of Cecilia's father paying for his medical studies, he insists he intends to pay it all back.
Atonement Part One: Chapter Two Summary and Analysis
He will make it to Dunkirk alive and back to London. He manages some fitful sleep, but his thoughts keep wandering to the three and a half years he spent in prison. As Briony has grown up, has become more mature and knowledgeable about the world, she can now understood more pieces of the puzzle that she put together so incorrectly as a child, and can see past her original narrative. He runs alongside the bus but is unable to catch up. It is now 1999. Though they both attended Cambridge at the same time, they did not acknowledge each other often when they crossed paths.
The first time they are saved by an incoming bomb, and the second, the major seems to be affected by some sort of war delirium in which he squints at Robbie's uniform and imagines he sees "the insignia of senior rank. Robbie is embarrassed to share his secrets with these men, and the distance between them means he does not reveal a crucial fact: he has been injured by a piece of shrapnel that is now festering beneath his skin and will eventually kill him. Before Robbie is put in the car, Briony sees Cecilia running out to him. However, a twisted version of love has also engulfed Briony and will soon lead to tragedy. In England, the tension over the war is still in abstract terms. Cecilia refuses to talk to or met with Briony, although Briony has made several attempts.
Although Turner thinks it is wrong for the soldiers to take out their anger on this one man, he understands how all-consuming their rage is at the situation. The fact that she is mollified by the handcuffs on Robbie shows that she needs confirmation from the outside world that he is the criminal she has accused him of being. Although she has a specific image in mind for the play, she cannot make other people bring it to life in that way. The twins say their father insists there will not be a war, but Paul warns otherwise. Lola is horrified to hear Jackson use the word divorce, as it has never been uttered in front of the twins before. When, later in the evening, amid a confused search for the missing twins, Lola reports that she was sexually molested, Briony concocts a story in which Robbie is the culprit. And unlike Part One, Part Two is not split up into chapters told from the perspectives of different characters.
He never told her how ridiculous prison was, but she knew; she never told him she loved him, but he knew. She first shows it to Leon, who passes it to the police officers. It is fair for the reader to assume that Robbie has made an arrangement to reduce his prison time by serving in the British Army in the war agains the Germans. They take cover in a cellar full of other sleeping soldiers. It is the rest of humanity, and not Robbie himself, who have destroyed his path home for him Briony, Lola, the war. The three soldiers ignore her and take water from the house pump. As she descends to the dinner, Cecilia imagines how the evening will play out.
While the vulgar missive prompts Cecilia to realize her love for Robbie, it will likely elicit a vastly different response in Briony, who lacks the perspective and maturity necessary to understand the letter as Robbie intended it, as one expressing love through desire rather than bestial lust. He pictures a world in which he can be a free man, a doctor, married to Cecilia, who has reconciled with her family. As Paul sits down, Lola notices that he has a cruel-looking face but a pleasant manner, a combination that she finds attractive. Cecilia finds a vase that belonged to her uncle Clem, which he acquired during the first World War from villagers who were grateful for his role in evacuating them. Analysis This section illustrates how the chaos of war is able to break down even the rigid order of the military. The major orders the men to assemble, and Turner tells the officer that they would prefer not to.