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Fictional and Metafictional Strategies in Ian McEwan’s Novel Atonement (2001) and its Screen Adaptation (2007)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The concept of distorting the line between fiction and reality appears to be one of the main themes in Ian McEwan’s Atonement (2001) as well as in Joe Wright’s screen adaptation of the novel, released in 2007. With the focus on the main character Briony Tallis this essay explores the influence that literature and fiction have on her, how they bring her to blur the line between them and reality and, to a lesser extent, the different ways in which the novel and its screen adaptation address this issue. Briony is first introduced as an author, underlining the importance that imagination holds for her, and it is this overactive imagination that causes her to misinterpret real events and thus accuse Robbie Turner for a crime he did not commit. To redeem herself Briony turns to fiction in an attempt to re-write the past; by blurring the line between fiction and reality, as defined by the restrictions of her novel, Briony gives Robbie and Cecilia a future within the pages of her book. The literary motifs and symbols, that are present within her novel, enhance the influence fiction and literature have on her. This is also emphasized by her characters’ relationship with literature, their use of literary works, and their characters.  Briony, the character, strives to become Briony the author, thus emphasizing the importance that literature holds for her. Because Briony is trapped within the boundaries of her own imagination she has, in writing her novel, managed to hold Robbie and Cecilia captive in her imaginative world. Thus, finally achieving what she has been striving to do for during the greater part of her life: Briony, the author, can atone for the terrible ordeals that she caused decades previously.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 19 p.
Keyword [en]
Ian McEwan, Atonement, Joe Wright, Reality, Fiction, Metafiction, Briony Tallis, Literature, Adaptation, Novel
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-36996OAI: diva2:291657
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2010-02-10 Created: 2010-02-02 Last updated: 2010-02-10Bibliographically approved

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