Wednesday, April 16, 2008

‘Atonement’: A tale of redemption

-By Swetha Amit
A quick flash of lightning can often lead to a downpour of events characterized with deception and also to the destruction of several lives. Sometimes it even robs one out of their clear insight to an extent leaving them blinded by their first impressions forever. Such blemished thoughts lead to the imprisonment of their souls by a painful past in turn enticing the present and future of those affected by their marred thinking.

The literary piece of ‘Atonement’ by Ian McEvan is the story of one such instance which takes the readers into the lives of an upper class English family and their journey into a quest which remained unfulfilled.

The book starts off with the thirteen year old Briony who is immersed in her word of words which is depicted in her play called ‘trials of Arabella’. Her quick mind which portrayed the talent of a young budding writer proved to be her own downfall. Her fluttering imaginations soared like a little bird finally finding its wings and independence after an arduous trial. Unfortunately her wild cognitive stance turned against her as it eventually cost her own sister by a certain occurrence on one hot summer afternoon.

The sight her sister Cecilia disrobed and jumping into the fountain leaves her staring in amazement. Adding to the complexity of the event is her childhood friend and son of the humble housekeeper staring with stoned silence. Briony’s suspicion of Robbie being a sexually repressed person deepens as she reads the latter’s letter to her sister consisting of sexual overtures which was inadvertently done so. The sight of the couple locked in a passionate embrace in a library and convinces Briony of her sister being physically assaulted. Further instances during the later part of the evening change the lives of all as Briony finds her cousin raped in the lawns of the mansion. Enraged and blinded by fury, the adolescent throws false allegations on Robbie as the one responsible. Watching the lad dragged away to his pitiable plight and her sisters pleas of woe, a grim and satiated expression is what is planted on little Briony as she remains a spectator to the same.

Few years down the line depicts the World War 2 situation where Robbie is a soldier after spending three years in prison. Cecilia who hasn’t forgiven her family works as a nurse and has kept in touch with her love. Time gradually reveals the truth and realization dawns upon Briony about her disillusion. Filled with remorse and regret, she spends rest of her life attempting to make amends by breaking the cold barrier built by her sister, melting the wrath and wound imbedded in Robbie and uniting them forever. Whether Briony succeeds in attaining atonement or not forms rest of the narrative.

The book delves deep into the complexity of human nature which depicts an uncanny resemblance to that of a spiders’ web. It also portrays the strikingly contrast emotions of individuals in certain parts. Reasoning of certain instances is exhibited in a way that draws astounded reactions from its readers.

Appearance can be deceptive is a famous saying. What we see may actually differ drastically from what it actually is. Before we leap to conclusions it is essential to find out the real reason behind such happenings as the failure of the same could result in losing our near and dear ones. Realization of this impertinent folly results in the necessity to make amends which at times may be too late. Nevertheless it ends in one trying to atone for their foggy misconceptions instead of awaiting the clearance of the same into a crystallized version similar to that of the morning dew.

Blindly following our distorted perceptions is similar to falling into a quicksand that we are forever struggling to get out off. If only they let their thinking exhibit the lucidity of the spring season instead of being blurred by a mist of that of a cloudy day will such ruefulness be avoided?

Very few get a golden chance for this opportunity of redemption while there are those unfortunate ones who spend their lives in perennial atonement.

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Blogger KParthasarathi said...

Iwas aware that you make interesting reviews of films een by you.I never knew that you write too brilliant reviews of books you read.
The review of 'Atonement' makes one surmise the novel should be provocative and very absorbing.I trust apart from the story the novel stands out as a literary master piece.I will soon grab a copy for reading

12:41 AM  
Blogger Whirlwind said...

Thanks KP.:-) This is one book which left me spell bound and marveling at several aspects of it. It was also made ino a movie which was nominated for the oscars. However the latter doesnt do justice to the book which is a must read.

8:46 AM  

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