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Atonement Essay

969 words - 4 pages

“There are many different voices created by McEwan in ‘Atonement’. The language a character uses can tell us more about their personality than can be demonstrated in other ways.” How far and in what ways does your chosen passage from ‘Atonement’ support this assertion? (pages 50-52)
In Ian McEwan’s novel ‘Atonement’, each character has been given a different style of language and voicing, which gives the reader a more in depth understanding of the character traits, allowing a larger window for empathy throughout the novel. McEwan has woven in different language features to help us grasp the character and to assist our understanding of the key events in the novel.
When listening to Paul ...view middle of the document...

Cecilia moves on to recollect “the look” Leon used to torture her with at dinners with their relatives. “The one who caught the look was helpless, the one who bestowed it, immune.”, this reveals to us one subject Cecilia is particularly fond of, her brother Leon. Correspondingly to Briony, Cecilia has a soft spot for her older brother, and this is portrayed by the reminiscent voice displayed by Cecilia when recollecting their childhood. Once she remembers the elusive “look”, she proceeds to perform it to Leon, for her own amusement, as he had not “seen [it] in more than ten years”. Cecilia is clearly determined to impress Leon and recognises the “the tremor along his shoulders”. McEwan has created for us yet another voice for Cecilia, and the depth in which she reveals memories of Leon makes it evident how much she admires her older brother.
Just as Cecilia is brought back to the present, and the “conclusion” of Paul Marshall’s speech, her immaturity recoils as she remarks Paul has “pubic hair growing from his ears”. Cecilia then discovers her brother has invited Robbie for dinner; immediately she becomes tense, and believes this act to be “revenge perhaps”. “He was in a teasing mood”, the use of “he was” is telling us how well Cecilia knows her brother, giving us a further sense of her admiration for Leon. Cecilia becomes “genuinely annoyed” in this conversation, which makes it clear to us her attitude to Robbie is not positive, and reflects the irreconcilable attraction that is present between Robbie and herself. Conversing about Robbie and becoming frustrated, tells the reader that Cecilia does feel the attraction and it is a burden for her. This day depicted in Section 1 of the novel is based around the realisation of this allurement and its consequences, so this conversation is significant to the reader from Cecilia’s point of...

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