That Darned Briony

Convince me to like or to hate Briony.  Your post should be approximately three to four hundred words (min.) and contain at least three (3) properly cited quotations from McEwan’s novel.  You will be receiving up to 15 marks for this second posting:  1o for detail, insight, and addressing the “so what?” (remember how important the “so what?” is for an argument); 5 for spelling, word choice, grammar, MLA format, etc.  (Same rubric as last time.)  You may submit this post at any time this week; however, your absolute deadline is Sunday, Nov. 30th at 11:59 p.m. (P.S. No fence sitting!  Pick a side: like or hate.)

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~ by Ms. Cox on November 25, 2014.

25 Responses to “That Darned Briony”

  1. Spoiled Little Witch
    Alena

    After reading ‘Atonement’ By Ian McEwan I have many reason to really, really, really not like Briony. Briony is a spoiled girl who believes that the world revolves around her. “But of course, it had all been about her- by her and about her- and now she was back in the world, not one she could make” ( McEwan 72). Briony is convinced that Cecilia is in dire need of Briony’s help and could not possibly make her own decisions without the guiding hand of her thirteen year old sister. Briony sees a scene by the fountain unfold, and instead of going and speaking to Cecilia to fully understand what happens. Briony makes an assumption of the scene: “However, was how Robbie imperiously raised his hand now, as though issuing a command which Cecilia dared not disobey… At his insistence she was removing her clothes, and at such speed” (McEwan 36). Briony has no idea what kind of relationship Cecilia and Robbie have or anything to do with them.
    The main reason I really don’t like Briony though, is how she ruins someone’s life with no disregard. Briony believes she needs to protect Cecilia, so much that she creates a story in her head and will take any opportunity to make her story come to life: “But it did not matter because Briony was about to cut her off and the opportunity would be lost…It was her story, the one that was writing itself around her” (McEwan 156). How a person -no matter how young- can ruin other peoples lives with no remorse is horrible. Briony knows that what her accusations could very easily send Robbie to prison. Briony knows this fact and she knows that it’s one way to get Robbie out of Cecilia’s life. Briony is not too young to understand the full effects of her actions, a thirteen year old knows what jail is and how it can affect someone’s life. But yet all of this and it doesn’t stop her, it doesn’t even slow her down in pointing her finger and screaming “rape.”

  2. Eric Zeng
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    November 29, 2014

    Briony is a character of self-righteous zeal and childish prejudice who’s imagination becomes the thoughtless stupidity that extends far into her real life. A child should never mind the business of adults, especially when it comes to letters: “It was wrong to open people’s letters, but it was right, it was essential, for her to know everything” (McEwan 106). She opens the letter when she knew she was wrong to do this. She opens it because she thinks she deserved to know other people’s business. She had no right to intrude upon the private life of Robbie and Cecilia, and by doing so she is no longer considered a child. She has stepped into the adult life way ahead of her appropriate time, putting not only burdens on others but on herself as well. Her childish prejudice leads her to lying and never passing from her lies even when she doubted her own words: “How guilt refined the methods of self-torture, threading the beads of detail into an eternal loop, a rosary to be fingered for a lifetime” (McEwan 162). She was unsure herself what she saw, and she only caught a glimpse of the person. It could have been any of the young males who went out to search for the twins. She brought suffering to herself by reading the letters, thinking she has to become a witness for a crime her prejudiced opinion placed on Robbie. She causes her own suffering and that of other people within the Tallis household. She knows she will feel guilty for the rest of her life. Her childish stupidity is what clouded her judgement. She first read the letter, then accused a man wrongly of a crime because she thinks the letter is proof. How could a child make plausible decisions when there logic is the basis of a fairy tale: ” ‘Do you know why I wanted you to save me?’ ‘No.’ ‘Because I love you.’ ” (McEwan 218). She could have drowned herself and her saviour together with her in their sodden clothes only for testing the love or affection of Robbie. How could she be trusted to make any responsible decisions as a witness when she would mingle her decisions risking her own life in a fairy tale? Her stupidity is shown in her childish acts. Therefore, Briony is no more than an annoying 13 year old girl who thinks nothing else at life than her dreamy and spoiled fairy tales where she is the center of all attention. She has no survival instincts, and she has no insight into adulthood walking into the midst of adult lives. She is the dust of society that needs to be brushed off.

  3. Briony is a serious-minded, young girl who writes plenty of stories. Unfortunately, Briony lets one of her more absurd stories travel further than her typewriter. It travels into her future, and into her deathbed; stuck in her head as a feeling of guilt. I have mixed feelings for Briony. I can’t convince you to hate her or like her, because I’m not sure if I’m fond of her or not. I hate Briony because she ruins her sisters beautiful, new and blooming love life by accusing Robbie, Cecilia’s lover, as a rapist. Due to Briony’s incorrect assumption, Robbie is sent to prison, and then to fight in the war. While in the war, Robbie dies of septicemia, and in the same year Cecilia drowns in the Balham Underground station during a bombing. I hate Briony because of the fact that she was full of pure selfishness on the night of the assault. Out of nothing but nosiness she opens the letter from Robbie to Cecilia, “[s]he read it in the hall after Polly had let her in” (McEwan 106). If Briony had not read that damn letter, she wouldn’t have had any reason to worry about Robbie. Later on in the story, Briony lets her nosiness get the best of her once again and walks in on Robbie and Cecilia’s first passionate meeting. “She stood there stupidly, staring at them, her arms hanging loose at her sides . . . There were drinks in the drawing room or on the terrace, and that was where Briony was supposed to be” (McEwan 130). When Briony witnesses the assault later that night, she doesn’t actually see who it is that committed the crime. “The vertical mass was a figure, a person who was now backing away from her and beginning to fade into darker background of the trees” (McEwan 154). Although Briony doesn’t see the rapist well, she doesn’t hesitate a second before blaming it on Robbie. For evidence – and the reason why I hate her most – she grabs the letter Robbie wrote to Cecilia from Cecilia’s room and hands it the policemen, “she . . . put the folded sheet of paper into the hands of the policeman with the face of granite. If he had an expression, it did not change as he took the letter” (McEwan 166). These are the reasons as to why you should hate Briony. She was a stupid child who decided to let her absurd mind carry her away. There are still reasons as to why I want to forgive her, and feel sorry for her still. She was only thirteen, and thought she was doing the best for Cecilia, “[b]ut she had seen Robbie’s letter, she cast herself as her sister’s protector” (McEwan 115). Also, Briony has to live with the fact that she did this horrible thing for the rest of her life. “The problem these fifty-nine years has been this: how can a novelist achieve atonement when, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God? . . . No atonement for God, or novelists, even if they are atheists” (McEwan 350-351). Briony writes “Atonement” the novel begging for forgiveness from her dead sister, and her sister’s dead lover. She makes sure to unite them in the novel as lovers once again, “I like to think that it wasn’t weakness or evasion, but a final act of kindness, a stand against oblivion and despair, to let my lovers live and to unite them at the end” (McEwan 351). Also in her novel, where Cecilia and Robbie continue to live, she promises to attempt to fix what she had broken, by writing a note to her parents, a formal statement, and a letter/atonement. “Together, the note to her parents and the formal statement would take no time at all. Then she would be free for the rest of the day. She knew what was required of her. Not simply a letter, but a new draft, an atonement, and she was ready to begin” (McEwan 330). So, although Briony committed this horrible crime – that I absolutely hate her for – once she is matured and she understands, she wants nothing but atonement In her novel she shows that she is very, very sorry for what she has done. She lives with this for the rest of her life.

  4. Briony is a serious-minded, young girl who writes plenty of stories. Unfortunately, Briony lets one of her more absurd stories travel further than her typewriter. It travels into her future, and into her deathbed; stuck in her brain as a feeling of guilt. I dislike Briony very much, and suggest you do as well. Briony ruins her sisters beautiful, and new and blooming love life by accusing Robbie, Cecilia’s lover, as a rapist. Due to Briony’s incorrect assumption, Robbie is sent to prison, and then to fight in the war. While in the war, Robbie dies of septicemia, and in the same year Cecilia drowns in the Balham Underground station. I hate Briony because of the fact that she was full of pure selfishness on the night of the assault. Out of pure nosiness she opens the letter from Robbie to Cecilia, “[s]he read it in the hall after Polly had let her in” (McEwan 106). If Briony had not read that damn letter, she wouldn’t have had any reason to worry about Robbie. Later on in the story, Briony lets her nosiness get the best of her once again and walks in on Robbie and Cecilia’s first passionate meeting. “She stood there stupidly, staring at them, her arms hanging loose at her sides . . . There were drinks in the drawing room or on the terrace, and that was where Briony was supposed to be” (McEwan 130). When Briony witnesses the assault later that night, she doesn’t actually see who it is that committed the crime. “The vertical mass was a figure, a person who was now backing away from her and beginning to fade into darker background of the trees” (McEwan 154). Although Briony doesn’t see the rapist well, she doesn’t hesitate a second before blaming it on Robbie. For evidence – and the reason why I hate her most – she grabs the letter Robbie wrote to Cecilia from Cecilia’s room and hands it the policemen, “she . . . put the folded sheet of paper into the hands of the policeman with the face of granite. If he had an expression, it did not change as he took the letter” (McEwan 166). These are the reasons as to why you should hate Briony, like I do. She was a stupid child who decided to let her absurd mind carry her away. She ruined her sisters chance at love and romance because of one assumption, one lie.

  5. Amanda Maier
    Ms. D. Cox
    ENG4U1-01
    In Ian McEwan’s novel “Atonement”, Briony sends her sister’s lover and close family friend, Robbie, to prison because at the age of thirteen she accused him of raping her cousin Lola. Briony doubts herself as she is blaming Robbie, but continues through with her accusations to “protect” her sister and prove to those around her that is worth something. However, we should not hate Briony because she was young, she seeks atonement for her actions and we are all like Briony in some ways.
    Briony is only thirteen when she accuses Robbie of raping her cousin. Young children often make mistakes as they are so desperate for attention that they will do just about anything to earn that attention. Briony’s way of getting attention was always through her writing: “[Showing off] was precisely why she loved plays, or hers at least; everyone would adore her” (McEwan 11). Briony takes her attention seeking too far when she accuses Robbie of raping Lola: “She trapped herself, she marched into the labyrinth of her own construction, and was too young, too awestruck, too keen to please, to insist on making her own way back” (McEwan 160). We shouldn’t hate Briony for being young and wanting attention because she later changes from this mindset as she goes into nursing to forget herself.
    Briony spends the next 64 years of her life regretting that she blamed Robbie of the rape and sent him to prison, when she really believes that it was Paul Marshall. She spends 59 years writing a novel about her guilt over splitting up her sister and Robbie because of her accusations to try and make amends: “She knew what was required of her. Not simply a letter, but a new draft, an atonement, and she was ready to begin” (McEwan 330). Briony does come to regret and feel sorry for what she did to Robbie and Cecilia. Atonement for Briony is impossible as she is the writer of the story and Robbie and Cecilia are dead so can no longer forgive her: “How can a novelist achieve atonement when, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God?” (McEwan 351). While this does not make up for what she did, she at least realizes that what she did was wrong. Briony should not be hated because she eventually did everything in her power to make a sort of atonement for her actions through her novel. Even though her novel does not help Robbie and Cecilia this novel could encourage others not to make the same mistake she did.
    To hate Briony would be to hate oneself as we have all messed up really badly (or will eventually) at one point or another in our lives. Briony realizes that the truth is difficult to obtain: “Like policemen in a search team, we go on hands and knees and crawl our way toward the truth” (McEwan 339). Briony’s realization about the difficulty of finding the truth comes when she is 77 years old and after she has spent a lifetime regretting her one big mistake. No one is perfect and to be judgemental of someone else’s mistakes is allowing others to judge you buy those same standards. Briony also knows that truth is not easily found: “Truth [is] strange and deceptive, it [has] to be struggled for, against the flow of the everyday” (McEwan 148). Everyone struggles with the truth, so we should not hate Briony because she is also human and struggled with the truth at the young age of thirteen.
    Briony should not be hated for what she did to Robbie and Cecilia because she was young, she regrets her actions and we all are like Briony in how we struggle to find the truth. Our hate should not be used on mistakes that people make at young age. One does not feel the same hate or “extreme hostility” to a child as one should to someone who is fully capable of realizing that what they are doing is terribly wrong and has consequences.

  6. Rebecca
    In the novel Atonement written by Ian McEwan we, the reader meet a girl named Briony Tallis three times. Once at age thirteen, another at age eighteen, and the last time at age seventy seven. At age thirteen she is rude and thinks the world revolves around her. She thinks everyone needs her help, such as her older sister Cecilia. Briony witnesses an interaction at a fountain between her sister Cecilia and Robbie, the gardener’s son. Briony thinks that Robbie is forcing Cecilia to take off her clothes and jump into the water, however she couldn’t be any farther off from the truth.”You idiot! Look what you’ve done” (McEwan 28). Through this we are able to see that Cecilia is the one mad at Robbie, he isn’t the one being mean to Cecilia. Instead of asking Cecilia what actually happened she just made an assumption and used that against Robbie later on in the novel. Briony also sees another interaction between Cecilia and Robbie in the library. “She stood there stupidly, staring at them, her arms hanging loose at her sides” (McEwan 130). Briony thinks Robbie is attacking Cecilia, which again is not the truth. After Briony sees both of these events she doesn’t ask her sister what happened, she makes an assumption of what happened with no justification. She eventually accuses Robbie of raping Lola “Yes. I saw him. I saw him” (McEwan 169). But we all know she didn’t actually see him, she is just trying to ruin Cecilia’s and Robbie’s life by putting Robbie in jail. Briony is a nasty kid. Later in the novel, in part three we meet Briony as an eighteen year old as a nurse helping the wounded soldiers. She is older now and more mature and finally realizes what she did five years ago was wrong. Accusing Robbie of rape was not a good idea. “And if I can’t go to court, that won’t stop me telling everyone what I did” (McEwan 318). Briony is admitting to Cecilia that she knew it wasn’t Robbie who raped Lola, it was Paul Marshall. She is now willing to come forward and tell everyone the truth about her mistake she made five years ago. In summary, the first impression of someone is what sticks with you forever. My first impression of Briony was a spoiled brat who is a life ruiner and even though she tries to fix her mistake five years later it won’t work. What she did was wrong and will never be forgiven. Those are the reasons as to why Briony should never be liked, ever.

  7. Emily Deighton
    Ms. D. Cox
    ENG4U-01

    I cannot stand Briony. You know when you hate a character, but you can’t quite figure out the exact reason why? That’s how I feel about Briony. First of all she wrongly convicted Robbie as Lola’s raper when she did not even see him. Briony didn’t even give Lola the opportunity to Briony just says, “It was Robbie, wasn’t it?” (McEwan 156). When she finally comes to her senses and figures out who the actual rapist is, its way too late. This makes me so mad that such a foolish little girl could get away with sending someone to jail without even knowing if she was right. Briony was also so ludicrous to give someone else’s letter to everyone without permission, “In her excitement she had not considered who it was she should give the letter to; a trick of her imagination had everyone reading it as once” (McEwan 166). In what world would giving a private letter meant for Cecilia to other people and think Cecilia would be okay with that? It’s apparent that Briony is just trying to protect her sister, but she’s just making it worse. I would absolutely not be okay with anyone reading a letter from someone without permission, let alone give it to everyone else to read as well. Briony even daydreams about Robbie forgiving her, when that’ll never happen: “She thought too how one of these men might be Robbie, how she would dress his wounds without knowing who he was…he would turn to her in gratitude, realizes who she was, and take her hand, and in silently squeezing it, forgive her” (McEwan 281). Does Briony honestly think Robbie would forgive her? Even when Briony went to talk to Cecilia and Robbie was there, he made it clear that he does not like Briony what so ever. This makes me so mad to think that Robbie would actually forgive her, when she ruined Robbie’s life. I don’t blame Cecilia for hating Briony, she doesn’t deserve atonement.

  8. Matthew Montreuil
    After reading the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan, it is clear to me that I do not hate Briony. At the beginning of the novel, she is a confused little girl who loves to write. She overlooks a few moments between her sister Cecilia and Robbie at the ripe age of thirteen, a scene at the fountain, a scene in the library. That also influenced her opinion on whom she really saw raping Lola that night. That is what got Robbie in prison and war for five years. I would hate her if she did not realize what she did, however by the age of eighteen during part three she realizes exactly what she has done wrong. She has taken love away from both Robbie and Cecilia. In fact, the entire book is written about her atonement on behalf of what happened “How can a novelist achieve atonement when, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God?” (McEwan 350). During part three Cecilia feels bad for herself and refuses to forgive Briony for what she has done, by doing so Briony feels even worse than she originally did. That is a guilt that Briony will take with her to her grave, “‘Don’t worry,’ her sister resumed. ‘I won’t ever forgive you” (McEwan 318). Briony is trapped as well because she is now deemed as an unreliable witness because she has already confessed to seeing what happened “‘I’ll go to Surrey and speak to Emily and the Old Man. I’ll tell them everything.’’Yes, you said that in your letter. What’s stopping you?’” (McEwan 318). Briony was too young to understand what she was doing when she was thirteen and she decides to write an entire book to display her atonement, without her we would not have a story to read.

  9. Briony Tallis sucks. She is a seflish, ignorant girl who only thinks of herself, even when she thinks of other people. In the beginning of the novel, Briony thinks of her brother Leon, but only about him reacting to her play: “In another, there we was, cocktail in hand at some fashionable city watering hole, overheard boasting to a group of friends: Yes, my younger sister, Briony Tallis the writer, you must sure have heard of her” (McEwan 4). Like who the heck do you think you are Briony? She has a god complex. She believes she sees all and knows all about every situation. For example, the fountain scene between Cee and Robbie. Briony thinks one thing is going on between the two of them, “At his insistence she was removing her clothes, and at such speed” (McEwan 36). What really happened was Cee actually refused Robbie’s help and ideas which is why she had to take her clothes off the get in the pond in the first place. After witnessing the scene between Robbie and Cee, Briony feels the need to play god and rewrite the entire fountain scene from all three points of view: her own, Cecelia’s and Robbie’s. How could she know all the points of views without actually being those people? She doesn’t.

    Another reason Briony sucks is that she ruined Robbie Turner’s life. She takes the PRIVATE letter from Robbie to Cee and reads it (not cool, Briony, not cool,). But not only does she read it, she misreads it completely. Yes, he dropped the c-bomb and it was in a sexual context, and as a thirteen year old that’s kind of a big deal, still, she shouldn’t had read the damn letter in the first place. It wasn’t her business and had she never stuck in her nose where it didn’t belong, Robbie and Cee would have lived happily ever after. Briony accuses Robbie of raping Lola, claiming she saw him doing it (no pun intended), when in reality her only evidence is her interpretation of the letter and whatever else is going on in her head. “Weak, stupid, confused, cowardly, evasive- she had hated herself for everything she had been, but she had never thought of herself as a liar” (McEwan 318). Briony is an ignorant little girl who gets lost in fantasies that in turn shape her reality and ruins everyone’s around her.

  10. Dominic Gordon
    Ms.Cox
    ENG4U1-01

    “Yes, she was a child at the time, and he did not forgive her. He
    would never forgive her. That was the lasting damage” (McEwan 220).

    After reading the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan, I have come to the realisation that the character of Briony is misrepresented, and in turn unfairly disliked by most readers. Throughout the novel, Briony is continuously looking for ‘atonement’ from both Robbie and Cecilia. Unfortunately her actions she did at a young age left her wondering how her life, Robbie’s life, and Cecilia’s life could have been different.

    At the age of thirteen, it is hard to understand adult situations, and Briony is put into many of them. She has to go through her aunt and uncle getting divorced, the reveal that her father may be having an affair with another woman, and testifying against someone who she believes is a sex maniac. “Weak, stupid, confused, cowardly, evasive—she had hated herself for everything she had been, but she had never thought
    Weak, stupid, confused, cowardly, evasive—she had hated herself for everything she had been, but she had never thought of herself as a liar” (McEwan 318). This quotation shows how immediately after testifying against Robbie, she regretted it, and that she didn’t think she was doing any wrong. I mean can you blame her? She thought she had just seen her sister get attacked by Robbie, I think it is a fair assumption that Robbie is Lola’s rapist. Everybody makes mistakes, but unfortunately Briony’s mistake not only affected her, but Robbie and Cecilia too.

    Now living with guilt is no easy task, and we learn later that both Robbie and Cecilia die in 1940. Therefore Briony would have to deal with the guilt of them not being able to be with each other for more than 50 years. And the fact that they have both passed away, makes it impossible for her to apologizing to them. “That my walk across London ended at the church on Clapham Common, and that a cowardly Briony limped back to the hospital, unable to confront her recently bereaved sister” (McEwan 350). This quotation shows how difficult it was for Briony to even try to talk to her sister, and that the story that she’s writing is for her and Robbie.

    When it comes to my feelings about Briony, I believe she was a kid who made some huge mistakes. But to have a hatred for her is something that I don’t have. Instead, I see a little bit of Briony in everybody. That we all make mistakes, and spend our entire lives trying to make amends.

  11. Taylor Lott
    Ms. D. Cox
    ENG 4U-01

    Through Atonement, McEwan manages to create a truly despicable character in Briony. By creating circumstances where the reader loves Robbie and Cecilia so much that anything that gets in the way is inherently evil, Briony quickly becomes the villain to the novel. On top of our unbridled love for Robbie and Cee, Briony has several major character flaws leading to the reader to hate her.

    As a child, many people find Briony at her most entitled and arrogant. At the beginning of part one she says: “the twins could not act, or even speak, and Lola had stolen Briony’s rightful role” (McEwan 35). Briony is astoundingly self-centred, she can’t even get out her own head long enough to realize that this play may not be the most important thing at the time. It’s always about creating for her; she craves excitement. When she sees the fountain scene and then the letter, she determines that the most outlandish and improbable of all scenarios is the truth. When Briony finds Lola after the assault she says: “Briony whispered, ‘Who was it?’ and before that could be answered, she added, with all the calm she was capable of, ‘I saw him. I saw him’” (McEwan 155). It is clear in this quotation that Briony didn’t actually see anything, no matter how hard she wanted to see it. Briony’s biggest sin in part one is creating from nothing, and, due to her arrogance, proceeding to state her creations as fact.

    In a novel about seeking forgiveness (the thing is called Atonement after all), Briony never quite manages to do so. In part four Briony says: “It is only in this last version that my lovers end well, standing side by side on a South London pavement as I walk away. All the preceding drafts were pitiless” (McEwan 350). Here she implies that the only reason she even included the scene where she asks for Robbie and Cee’s forgiveness is to provide closure for her potential reader. It took Briony fifty years to realize the grave mistake she’s made and even begin an attempt to fix it. She says: “I still feel myself to be exactly the same person I’ve always been” (McEwan 336). Here she admits, she hasn’t grown or changed since she was a child; this is still just a story to her. She effectively ruined someone’s life, and she talks as if it were simply an inconvenience to her, as if writing this story was some long, gruelling task, after which all would be forgiven. Know what else is long and gruelling? Jail.

    Overall Briony is a character that we love to hate, she is someone with so many character flaws that are explored so deeply in the novel, that it is nearly impossible not to.

  12. Emily Johnston
    Ian McEwan’s character, Briony Tallis, is dislikable as a result of her inability to be honest, causing the reader to doubt the validity of her novel. Throughout the novel, Briony lies in several occasions; once about Robbie’s crime, another about Briony’s meeting with Robbie, Robbie’s and Cecilia’s deaths, and to Private Latimer. Briony, as a young girl, witnesses events between her sister, Cecilia Tallis, and a family friend, Robbie Turner, that she doesn’t understand. Briony misinterprets Robbie and Cecilia’s feelings as a dangerous situation for her sister; she determines Robbie is a maniac. Briony takes the first opportunity to protect her sister through her decision to accuse Robbie of the assault of Lola Quincey. Briony tells the police, “I saw him [Robbie]. I saw him” (McEwan 169). Earlier, Briony states, “I know it was him” (McEwen 169), rather than she actually saw him. Briony lies about knowing that Robbie is guilty of Lola’s injuries; she does this without much thought leading to the question of whether Briony lies in other parts of the novel. Briony also lies about meeting with Robbie and Cecilia in part three. She says, “[Briony’s] walk ended at the church on Clapham Common, and that a cowardly Briony limped back to the hospital, unable to confront her recently bereaved sister” (McEwan 350). On the other hand, Briony said in part three, “I’m looking for a Miss Cecilia Tallis” (McEwan 312), this never actually happens. Briony misleads her readers, causing them confusion and distrust in the author. Briony lies a third time when she pretends that Robbie and Cecilia did not die, and were able to reconnect after Robbie’s return from Dunkirk. Briony, in her old age, says, “ Robbie Turner died of septicemia at Bray Dunes on 1 June 1940, or that Cecilia was killed in September of the same year by the bomb that destroyed Balham Underground station” (McEwen 350). Briony’s statement contradicts with part three of the novel where she converses with both Robbie and Cecilia. Briony’s fourth lie occurs when she tells an injured Private Latimer, “We’ll soon have you fixed” (McEwen 284). Private Latimer is gravely injured, to the point he won’t heal properly. Briony lies cause others to belief what is untrue, furthering their distrust in her when they determine she was not being honest. She manipulates readers into believing what she desires they believe, gaining her trust and then breaking it again. Briony is a perpetual liar, which renders the novel confusing and frustrating as it is impossible to know what is true and fake; therefore, she is a disagreeable character.

  13. Kimberlyn Corredor
    Ms. D. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    November 29, 2014

    In the novel ‘Atonement’ written by Ian McEwan, the protagonist Briony commits a crime that forever alters the lives of those around her. Briony should be hated because she mixes reality and her own stories. This blend of her thoughts with what’s actually real, has devastating consequences. For example, before Briony even asks Lola who attacked her, the novel says “ It was her story, the one that was writing itself around her” ( McEwan 156). This quotation clearly demonstrates how Briony before hand, already has her own biases. She thinks Robbie is responsible for the crime due to a previous misunderstanding of events. She allows her distorted ideas to affect the evidence she presents to the police. Throughout the whole novel, she is an “ unreliable witness” ( McEwan 338). Her untrue testimony, leads to the misaccusation of Robbie, which inturn leads to his imprisonment and ultimately his death. As a whole, it is Briony’s fault that Cee and Robbie don’t get to be together. It is this tragic loss of unfulfilled love that constitutes my hatred felt towards Briony. She needs to learn the importance of not mixing untrue facts with reality and therefore not wreck the innocent lives of those closest to her.

    She should also be hated because she deceives her readers. At the end of the novel, the reader is informed that the story is Briony’s draft. She makes many hints, that parts of the book have been changed. Briony says “ If I really cared so much about facts, I should have written another story” ( McEwan 346). As the reader we are unable to trust a word she says. Her alterations to the story leave the reader feeling uncertain of what events actually occurred. She makes the reader want to know the truth but does not reveal it. No one is really sure of what actually happened and this uncertainty contributes to a feeling of hatred towards Briony. She isn’t honest to those around her and her readers. She even says “ I still feel myself to be exactly the same person, I’ve always been” (McEwan 336). She starts off as a liar and ends as one too. Her ideas and alterations ultimately lead to my dislike towards her. However, just like Briony has flaws, her character gives the reader insight the many things we hate about ourselves.

  14. Jeffrey Zhou
    Ms. D. Cox
    ENG 4U1-01

    Briony Tallis is an ignorant, self-centered child who tends to speak or act before she thinks. Her habit of jumping to conclusions brings despair to those around her and does not seem capable of feeling genuine empathy for the ones she has affected from her own actions. As a mere child, she is already accustomed to being the centre of attention by using her passion for literature, and “this was precisely why she loved plays or hers at least; everyone would adore her” (McEwan 11). Briony’s ambition to have the world revolve around her is evident again when she accuses Robbie of assaulting Lola, and thinks that, “It was her story, the one that was writing itself around her” (McEwan 156). Another instance where she distorts the world to fulfill her selfish desire is when she reads Robbie’s private letter to Cecilia, in which she knows that “It was wrong to open people’s letters, but it was right, it was essential, for her to know everything” (McEwan 106). Briony quickly establishes a nosy, spoiled, and egotistical image for herself, which is able draw the annoyance of readers without much effort.
    With a lack of knowledge towards the difference between childhood and adulthood, she is infamous for mistakenly drawing outlandish conclusions without a second thought, including the deed that sent Robbie to jail. After reading Robbie’s letter and the disastrous word, she assumes that “she was entering an arena of adult emotion” (McEwan (106), but the evolution of a child to a young adult is not based off of the exposure to inappropriate language. Even an 18-year old Briony does not realize that her arrogance is blinding her from the simple truth: she is a liar. She only realizes this five years later when Cecilia explicitly accuses her of lying. In fact, “she [Briony] had hated herself for everything she had been, but she had never thought of herself as a liar” (McEwan 318). Briony seems to believe that she is far more superior to other children her age, but instead, contradicts herself with this belief when she accuses Robbie of a crime he did not commit. As an incompetent child who selfishly seeks the mind of an adult, Briony has changed the lives of Robbie and Cecilia forever, and the only thing left is the fact that readers cannot help but to empathize with the victims of her lies.
    Briony has many opportunities to step forward and prove her maturity by apologizing for her false accusation, but fails to do so. Within the time span of five years, Briony has done little to improve Robbie’s situation. In her non-existent meeting with Cecilia, she imagines Cecilia chastising her for the delay of her penance by asking, “What’s stopping you? You’ve had five years” (McEwan 318). As the author, Briony uses this event as her way of reflecting from her cowardliness towards making amends with Robbie and Cecilia. When she finally takes the initiative to repair the emotional damage she has caused, she uses her craft to atone for her mistakes, but preserving their love in words is a futile attempt for forgiveness. There is nothing she can do to reunite the love of Robbie and Cecilia. Thus, as a reader, it is very difficult to show pity for Briony Tallis, because it was her foolish mistakes that have brought her own grief and guilt.

  15. Susana Liu
    Ms. D. Cox
    ENG 4UI-01
    November 30, 2014

    Briony Tallis is a ridiculous dreamer of many stories. She finds satisfaction in rewriting the events that have happened around her, in order to create a world she can call her own. Briony is unforgiveable, but she tries to write away her guilt anyway. At the age of thirteen, Briony commits a horrible crime by lying and falsely accusing Robbie Turner of raping Lola Quincey. Briony feels entitled to know everyone’s business and justifies doing the wrong thing for her own benefit: “It was wrong to open people’s letters, but it was right, it was essential, for her to know everything” (McEwan 106). Irrational with her decisions, Briony assumes the worst of Robbie and revises the truth. Even though she had not actually seen his face during the criminal act, she blames Robbie, “Yes. I saw him. I saw him” (McEwan 169). Her deceit is enough to permanently change Robbie Turner’s life around, as he is arrested, sent to prison and a soldier in World War II. It is because of Briony that Robbie endures the many horrors of the war and passes away from his wound on the beach of Dunkirk. During the interrogation, Briony realizes how she can get her own way with the intent of sending Robbie to jail: “Minor deviations earned her little frowns on wise brows, or a degree of frostiness and withdrawal of sympathy. She became anxious to please, and learned quickly that the minor qualifications she might have added would disrupt the process that she herself had set in train” (McEwan 159). Briony is foolish in believing whatever she wants to, thinking she is always right. I find it difficult to feel sympathetic towards Briony when it is entirely her own fault and there is only herself to blame. Briony’s character is not as innocent as she seems, for she undeniably knew what she was doing. Five years later, a heavy guilt follows Briony as she understands that she can never be forgiven: “But it was useless, she knew. Whatever skivvying or humble nursing she did, and however well or hard she did it, whatever illumination in tutorial she had relinquished, or lifetime moment on a college lawn, she could never undo the damage. She was unforgivable” (McEwan 269). My resentment towards Briony, for the crime she has committed, causes me to overlook the innocence of her young age. As a result of her actions, Briony is an untrustworthy author whose obsession in rearranging events inspired by her real life to her stories is unsettling. Briony is the author of her own story, she is in control and there is no one else who is able to provide her with forgiveness.

  16. Frances Johnson
    Ms. D. Cox
    ENG4U-01

    In the novel ‘Atonement’ by Ian McEwan, Briony Tallis lets her imagination get the best of her. Briony feels as if she is always doing the right thing. When the police arrive at the Tallis house to help search for the missing twins, Briony decides to retrieve the letter Robbie gave to Cecilia. “Even though Briony was fearful of the wild look her sister had given her downstairs, it was right, the younger girl thought as she pulled open another drawer, that she was there for her, thinking clearly, on her behalf” (McEwan 166). Briony thinks she is helping Cecilia when in fact she is unable to think clearly because her infatuation with Robbie. Although Briony is young she is still too old to be going through her sisters things and sharing that kind of information. When Briony finds Lola in the field when they are looking for the twins, she tries to convince Lola who raped her. Lola did not actually see who it was but Briony convinces her she saw Robbie. “Listen to me. I couldn’t mistake him. I’ve known him all my life. I saw him.” (McEwan 157). Briony is unsure of who she saw however she thinks it was Robbie after reading the letter and walking in on him and Cecilia in the library. In the end Briony lies about what she saw to the police and sends Robbie to jail. Later in the novel when Briony is working as a nurse she goes to visit Cecilia and Robbie for the first time in five years. Robbie asks her why she is so certain now that is was not him who assaulted Lola. She responds by saying she is now grown up. “Goddammit! You’re eighteen. How much growing up do you need to do? There are soldiers dying in the field at eighteen. Old enough to be left to die on the roads” (McEwan 323). This makes me wonder why it took Briony so long to apologize and come to her senses about what she had done. She ruined Robbie’s life because of her selfish mistakes. Briony does not seem like a very smart smart girl and always puts herself first, and this makes me not like or feel sorry for her.

  17. Chris Celestini
    Ms. Cox
    ENG4U1
    Atonement by definition is reparation for a wrong or injury; in Briony’s case her wrong destroyed the life of one man and the love between two people. What she did was horrible and foolish, but does she deserve hate even after a lifetime of seeking forgiveness? How much, or what, does a person need to do to be forgiven? A lifetime of regret and attempting to atone for what she did should be enough.
    Briony is able to be hated at the end of Atonement because she was young and foolish, just trying to protect the ones she loved. When Briony first thought that Robbie was a “maniac” it was not her but Lola who put the idea in her head. Briony just did what any good sibling would do and tried to protect Cecelia from the criminal she thought Robbie was. Robbie’s conviction was as much the fault of Lola as it was Briony as she did not say a single word to anyone. “Lola was required only to remain silent about the truth, banish it and forget it entirely, and persuade herself not of some contrary tale, but simply of her won uncertainty” (McEwan 158). This shows that even if Lola did not know who assaulted her if she just said something about her uncertainty the police might have second guessed Briony, but instead she just let Robbie take the fall.
    Another reason Briony cannot be hated is she tries to do the right thing. After some years of regretting what she did she decides to try and right her wrong by contacting Cecilia about a fair trial. The courage Briony would have needed to even think about her sister and Robbie again is immense and she at least deserves the readers respect with that act alone. “You did not answer my letters so I came” (McEwan 313). Although what really happens in part three is foggy, I can say with some certainty that Briony did send letters to Cecelia to try to set things straight.
    At the end of part one Briony is nothing more than a foolish child who is not worth redemption, but in part four we learn just how much she really put into her apology. Briony lived to be seventy seven, and she regrets everyday what she did when she was thirteen. She devoted sixty five years, her entire life, to atoning for what she did. “Perhaps I was nothing more than a victim of modern diagnostics; in another century it would have been said of me that I was old and therefore losing my mind. What else would I expect? I’m only dying then, I’m fading into unknowing” (McEwan 335). Not only has Briony suffered mentally for what she did, but now one of the last things she knows and loves is taken away from her, her mind. The tool she created her apology with is slowly being destroyed and unlike an army, or a flood there is nothing she can do to stop it.
    Redemption is not something that is acquired easily. Hate is not something that can be put aside easily so that there is room for forgiveness. Briony never had the chance to take back what she did to Robbie or Cecelia, but she did the next best thing by spending sixty five years apologizing, seeking atonement. Even after all those years she never did forgive herself for what she did. How can the reader hate Briony after all the courage and commitment she put into her apology. To hate Briony is to hate everyone trying to better themselves, redeem themselves from something they regret. Although you cannot love Briony, admiration is the least she deserves.

  18. Mohamed Ibrahim
    Ms. D.Cox
    ENG 4U1-01

    In the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan, we get introduced to a girl by the name of Briony who I personally dislike because first of all she blamed Robbie as the person who raped Lola also she was certain it was Robbie for example when she sees Lola and Paul by the lake she confronts Lola and says“It was Robbie, wasn’t it?” (McEwan 156). Another reason why I hate Briony is because she is very nosy for instance when Robbie gave her the letter to give to Cee, Briony decided to read the letter and seen the bad word which she did not understand and assumed that Robbie was a sex manic. Also “This would not be the first time Cecilia had rescued Briony from self-destruction” (McEwan 41). Briony thinks she was protecting Cee but the reality is she was hurting her. Another reason why I dislike Briony is because she lies about her meeting Robbie and Cee in part 3 and she confuses the readers when she says “ If I really cared so much about facts, I should have written another story” ( McEwan 346). This makes the readers and I question if she is telling us the truth and it is hard for us to believe Briony. She also says she hasn’t changed, so she is saying she was liar at the age of 13 and continued to be a liar which is a bad characteristic to have as a person. At the end I dislike Briony because she is not honest and she doesn’t think situations out and she assumes too much. I think if Briony thought about situations instead of assuming what happens like the fountain scene and the rape scene should would’ve been a likable character.

  19. Mack Addison
    Ms. D. Cox
    ENG 4UI

    Ian McEwan’s character, Briony Tallis, is a very dislikable character in the novel as she ruins the newly blooming relationship of Robbie and Cecilia, and when she can’t deal with the guilt anymore she makes up her own ending to the novel attempting to make herself feel better. Briony loves being the centre of attention and feels the need to know everything and anything. When Robbie writes Cecilia a private letter and trusts that Briony will pass it on, Briony opens it without any hesitation making her think of Robbie as a sex maniac right from the beginning. “It was wrong to open people’s letters, but it was right, it was essential, for her to know everything” (McEwan 106). She thinks that since she knows bad words, it makes her have a more mature mind. This eventually lead to her accusation of Robbie when she finds Lola at the temple. Briony automatically thinks that Robbie was the rapist, almost trying to convince Lola that it was him by saying she saw him. “Listen to me. I couldn’t mistake him. I’ve known him all my life. I saw him” (McEwan 157). When Robbie takes Briony for her swimming lesson, she throws herself in the river claiming that she loves Robbie. “She said it bravely, with chin upraised, and she blinked rapidly as she spoke, dazzled by the momentous truth she had revealed” (McEwan 218). Robbie tells her that he doesn’t love her, so over time, Briony became jealous of Cecilia and Robbie’s relationship, causing her to blame Robbie for the crime. Another reason to hate Briony, is because of her tricks and lies. At the end of the novel, we are informed that this novel is simply Briony’s drafts which instantly confuses you about what is real in the book and what is false. We learn the truth of what really happened to Cecilia and Robbie and how they never met up after the war, and how they both died in the same year. 77 year old Briony is the same as 13 year old Briony as she’s still hot headed and thinks everything revolves around her. She believes that everyone will trust and love her her story if she writes it. “As long as there is a single copy, a solitary typescript of my final draft, then my spontaneous, fortuitous sister and her medical prince survive to love” (McEwan 350). I don’t have any sympathy for Briony Tallis as she brought this guilt on herself and gives Cecilia and Robbie a false happy ending attempting to reach her own atonement.

  20. Matthew Charlton
    Ms. Cox
    ENG-4U1
    November 30th, 2014
    After my second time reading “Atonement” by Ian McEwan, I still hold the same opinion of Briony, that I despise her with a passion. Throughout the story, she has it in her head that everything revolves around her and how she views the world. She even admits to it when she writes, “But of course, it had all been about her- by her and about her- and now she was back in the world, not one she could make” (McEwan 72). She is so delusional that she takes breaks from reality to formulate these elaborate fantasies about how things should happen based on her ideas of chivalry and drama, and attempts to manipulate others to get these results (for example, her performance of The Trials of Arabella). Another reason to hate Briony is how she has no respect for one’s privacy. An example of this blatant disregard for one’s privacy is when she receives Robbie’s apology letter and almost immediately opens it and reads it, “It was wrong to open people’s letters, but it was right, it was essential, for her to know everything” (McEwan 106). She opens this letter, even though she knows it was wrong, just because she believes that she is entitled to know everything as she declared herself the ‘protector’ of her sister Cecilia. This title that she bestowed upon herself does not give her the right to dig through other’s personal belongings, and by doing this she forms a skewed idea of Robbie in her childish mind, that he is a sex maniac. One other reason to hate her is how she throws herself in a river to try and win the affections of Robbie, despite the fact that she could have potentially killed the both of them with her fairytale fantasy of Robbie being her knight in shining armor: “‘Do you know why I wanted you to save me?’ ’No.’ ‘Because I love you’ (McEwan 218). Her deluded mindset not only nearly caused the death of both her and Robbie, it also causes her to ruin an innocent man’s life when he is convicted based on her false testimony, and when she is reflecting on this much later in her life, she describes herself as “Weak, stupid, confused, cowardly, evasive- she hated herself for everything she had been” (McEwan 318), and frankly, I could not agree with her more.

  21. Kelly Millar
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4UI

    It is hard not to hate Briony after reading “Atonement” because she gives us so many reasons to. Some people may believe Briony’s mistakes when she was young were not her fault because she was only thirteen. Meddling is typical for kids around that age, which justifies reading the letter, watching Robbie and Cee at the fountain, etc. and she even admits it’s wrong to do things like this: “It was wrong to open people’s letters, but it was right, it was essential, for her to know everything” (McEwan 106). Thirteen is definitely old enough to be able to tell the difference between right and wrong. Briony was old enough at that point to know the consequences that would come from falsely accusing Robbie of rape. Paul Marshall can thank Briony for helping him get away with the crime, and never having to face the consequences he deserved to face. Because of Briony’s lie, she ruined both Robbie and Cecilia’s lives, and ultimately was the reason they both died. Robbie was supposed to go on to finish his studies and live a successful life as a doctor. Instead he got put in jail, and sent to war for something he did not do. Cecilia’s life pretty much revolved around her family and her life at home, but she ended up completely cutting herself off from her family after the incident. The worst part is the two not being able to be together. Robbie and Cecilia dying without getting the chance to be together was an unfair end to both of their lives, all because Briony did not want to be wrong. She knows her weaknesses that lead her to her crime, but she still cannot see herself as a liar which is the biggest crime of all: “Weak, stupid, confused, cowardly, evasive- she had hated herself for everything she had been, but she had never thought of herself as a liar” (McEwan 318). On top of everything she did, Briony then uses the story to further her career and passion by writing a book about it. Briony basically controlled their fate when she decided to lie about the rape. She then goes on to control their fate even after they are dead by writing the novel. Briony is trying to achieve atonement later in life with the novel, but she has already destroyed her chances of reaching it because there is no one to forgive her. “How can a novelist achieve atonement when, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God?” (McEwan 350). Briony is the God-figure in this novel, but she certainly doesn’t deserve to be.

  22. In the novel “Atonement” by Ian McEwan, the lack of morality in the character of Briony Tallis ignites a fiery loathing within the reader. Through tampering with her family and close friends lives, a shortsighted view on the truth and lies, and the construction of false reality, one cannot help but hate her. This detestation is born in the beginning of the novel when a young Briony is introduced; a naive child with O.C.D and a knack for writing stories that are tailored to direct the lives of others around her. This is seen in “The Trials of Arabella”. Briony doesn’t accept her brothers happiness in living his life how he chooses, and instead creates a play to steer him “away from his careless succession of girlfriends, toward the right form of wife . . . the one who would sweetly request Briony’s services as a bridesmaid.” (McEwan 4). Somehow within the first few pages she manages to try to interfere with someone’s life -who is close to her- for her own personal gain. Following this, she then chooses to meddle in her older sister Cecelia’s life by spying, reading her letters and interrupting a very intimate library encounter between Cee and Robbie Turner. Although the first could pass as mere curiosity, the next two invade her sisters right to privacy, bringing Briony’s morals into question. Living in her own little world, Briony Tallis begins to have trouble distinguishing the truth from the lies in the story she is living. A crime is indefinitely committed in the rape of Lola Quincey, Briony’s cousin, but the most heinous crime is the one committed by Briony in victimizing Robbie Turner. After claiming “she didn’t have it in her to be cruel.” (McEwan 5), she then proves the exact opposite. Her lies, which she presumptuously believed to be the truth, ruin any hopes of Cee and Robbie being together, send poor Robbie to jail and then to war, which is where the young man dies. Briony’s prejudice against Robbie presumably stems from his rejection of her love but his willingness in giving his to her older sister. Within a few days she gathers enough false evidence -through spying and only catching glimpses of scenes- to create her own truth and once the opportunity arises, she is relentless in punishing Robbie and Cee. Her spite is childish and immature and a very dislikable quality. Knowing that the first three chapters are but a story of Briony Tallis’ creation, the character of her younger self talks about the unimportance of truth because she is a writer, and yet in the fourth chapter she completely contradicts this by saying “Like policemen in a search team, we go on hands and knees and crawl our way toward the truth.” (McEwan 339). As a writer, not the character she had created, she is loathsome. She destroys those around her in her writing; she has no restraint in hurting her loved ones and refuses to publish her novel with changed names and instead waits until herself and everyone else is dead. Her holier-than-thou attitude is dull and is proof of her shallow, conceited nature. Thankfully there is “no atonement for God, or novelists” (McEwan 351) because Briony Tallis doesn’t deserve it.

  23. Briony Tallis deserves atonement. At the beginning of the novel we met young, self involved Briony. But let’s ask ourselves, did any of us REALLY think about others when we were 13? I can honestly answer, not really. Briony first witnessed the fountain scene between Robbie and Cecilia, and believed that Robbie was ordering Cee around. “Robbie imperiously raised his hand now, as though issuing a command which Cecilia dared not disobey” (McEwan Chapter 3). At this time Robbie is realizing his love for Cecilia and drafts several letters to give to her. He gives the letter to Briony to be delivered to Cee: The WRONG letter. Of course the letter contains graphic language and Briony misinterprets that as well. After that, Briony catches Robbie and Cee in a moment of passion in the library. In the mind of a 13 year old, it seemed like an act of violence. After dinner when Lola says she has been raped and Briony sees a man running from her, she assumes it is Robbie. Briony gives the letter to her mom and gives a statement saying she saw Robbie specifically. “Yes. I saw him. I saw him” (McEwan Chapter 14) Yes, what she did was wrong, but she was trying to protect her sister. As a result of her horrible mistake, Robbie was sent to jail and ultimately war. Of course this is terrible and even I hated Briony at this point. In part 3 Briony goes to Robbie and Cee to try and get them to forgive her. She recognizes that he made a mistake. That is half the battle with most. We later learn that part 3 is not real, and that Robbie and Cee died. Briony reveals in part 4 that much of her story is fiction. She wrote the entire story as an apology to Robbie and Cee, to try and make up for what she has done. Although she knows she will never get her atonement. “There is no atonement for God, or novelists” (McEwan 351) Briony spent the rest of her life after her mistake making up for what she had done. Briony was a young girl with no concept of the world, and did not realize her fault until later. She deserves forgiveness. Briony Tallis is not a monster.

  24. In the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan, the main character Briony is a character that is hated by most readers. However, I think she is a character that you should love because she is a representation of every reader. Briony is made up of all the mistakes and regrets of everyone who reads it, but she also represents the part of the reader that is looking to be forgiven for what they have done in the past. What the reader is looking to be forgiven for might not be as extreme as what Briony is asking to be forgiven for, but it is still the same. To hate Briony is to hate yourself because you haven’t been able to get forgiveness for what you’ve done wrong. “No one will care what events and which individuals were misrepresented to make a novel.” (McEwan 350) Briony says this about her book, how no one else will care about the events and who it was really about, and it goes the same for the reader. No one else will care about your story and what it is that causes you to feel remorse, it will only be you; and it’s up to you to forgive yourself or to find forgiveness.

  25. Marius Royal
    Ms. D. Cox
    ENG4U1-01
    In my humble opinion, I absolutely detested Briony Tallis. We are presented with this image of an “innocent” adolescent girl, yet she is far from innocent at the age of thirteen. I would even argue she fabricated and manipulated the lie that Robbie raped Lola, in hopes of protecting her sister in her twisted mind. Just looking back on the scene between the two of them, Briony verbally strong-arms a shocked Lola into framing Robbie: “Briony said it again, this time without the trace of a question. It was a statement of fact. “It was Robbie.” (McEwan, 156). Her ability to control the situation ends up with Robbie being incarcerated, just because Briony does not like Robbie and Cecelia together. So what? It would almost be excusable if Briony really mistook Robbie as the rapist in a dark shrouded night. Yet, what makes me lose all respect for her is later when she confronts Robbie and Cecelia for her horrific act of injustice, is how even after years, she can clearly recall the actual offender: “It was Paul Marshall… Years of seeing it a certain way. And yet, however startling, it was only a detail” (McEwan, 327). Ironically, it is only a detail that would not have destroyed Robbie’s life. But why would Briony want to target Robbie; perhaps an immature irrational act? No. What underlines the logic for Briony to frame Celica’s lover is simple, Briony loves Robbie. Perhaps this love triangle is not spoken of as a direct love triangle, but Briony’s feeling are very real, and Robbie is made fully aware of them: “Do you know why I wanted you to save me?… Because I love you” (McEwan 218). It becomes analytically clear that Briony is fully aware of what she is doing. She wants punish Robbie for not loving her in return, so when given the opportunity, she pinpoints him in advantageous fashion. The years she had to make it right were plentiful, but she was too gutless to bring Paul Marshall to justice. Briony never fully atoned, even knowing she could have. That is inexcusable.

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