Atonement: Letter Scene Essay

Atonement: Letter Scene Essay.

Ian McEwan wrote the powerful book Atonement with a few over-arching themes in mind. He eloquently put together this masterpiece by using a small number of key illuminating incidents to reveal his large ideas. McEwan used these episodes to give insight into the characters and their minds. The letter scene is an example of one of these illuminating incidents. In this scene, Robbie writes both an apology letter and a sexual note to Cecilia. He accidentally places the sexual message inside an envelope and sends Briony to present it to Cecilia.

Both Briony and Cecilia read Robbie’s letter. Robbie’s monumental mistake creates a situation that can be dissected to find more about Briony, Robbie, Cecilia, and also the inner meaning of McEwan’s work as a whole.

The letter scene enables readers to discover more about each character. Robbie’s internal monologue is present in this scene. He writes, “Cecilia, I don’t think I can blame the heat” ( 80).

These words display Robbie’s true love for Cecilia. They are private thoughts that had not been previously revealed. Soon, Cecilia and Briony will both know these thoughts too. When Cecilia reads the letter, she becomes excited and her internal monologue is also exposed. The words, “of course, of course… everything is explained” (105), echo around in Cecilia’s mind. Robbie and Cecilia’s love seems to transcend social class. Their feelings find a way to surpass the limitations of societal rank. Though, Briony’s skewed view of the letter changes everything.

Briony’s misperception of the situation eventually leads to the downfall of Robbie and Cecilia’s love. This is the vista on infinity that McEwan decides to reveal. He wants readers to know the dangers of adolescents’ young imaginative minds (especially Briony’s). Briony had just failed in her attempt to create a play for the homecoming of her brother. She is fed up with life as a youth, and wants to expand her writing prowess into a more adult style. Briony’s imagination gets the best of her after reading Robbie’s letter.

She, “did not doubt that her sister was in some way threatened and would need her help” (107). This false idea led Briony to charge Robbie with rape, which in turn ruined his life and killed him. McEwan uses the letter scene to reveal Briony’s twisted imagination. He guides readers to come to the conclusion that children’s imaginations sometimes have far-reaching and unintended effects. In this case, Robbie and Cecilia’s rare rule-bending love was not able to flourish.

Atonement: Letter Scene Essay

The imaginative landscape Essay

The imaginative landscape Essay.

It is human nature to long to belong, to fit neatly and comfortably into a familiar niche. It allows for a foundation, on which to build upon. It often nurtures us, but sometimes, as our ever static identities develop, we surpass it. We out grow it. It is when we are sheltered and content, that the prospect of leaving or letting go is most difficult, as we must uproot ourselves. In order to keep our roots, which are so deeply buried in our foundation, we simulate our previous, traditional landscapes, in order to keep them alive.

Through language, tradition and others, we can partially re-create traditional landscapes. As immigrants of the same nationally huddle together in a suburb-an island of familiarity in a sea of strangeness- in the hope that it might be something like is was before.

Some wish to keep their cultures and traditions sacred and unaltered by ‘treasuring’…’the recent past’, simultaneously blinding themselves from being open to new traditions; as in the case of Old James.

This leaves him to feel isolated, having no place to re establish his roots, stifling further growth. Old James is malcontented that Young James, disparate from his family, will not settle his roots in Ettrick Valley; ‘go[ing] on and not remember[ing] a thing of Scotland’. Young James, and those who follow him will have not emotional affiliation with Scotland, simply, knowing that it is the place of his ancestors orirgons. Like many others, tradition and culture of those gone before is lost, only to forge new ones, and a new foundation and a different sense of belonging.

The imaginative landscape Essay