Atonement: The story

STUDY SESSION

ATONEMENT IN PREZI 

QUOTES FROM THE NOVEL

“A world could be made in five pages, and one that was more pleasing than a model farm. The childhood of a spoiled prince could be framed within half a page, a moonlit dash through sleepy villages was one rhythmically emphatic sentence, falling in love could be achieved in a single word–a glance. The pages of a recently finished story seemed to vibrate in her hand with all the life they contained.”

Narration, Page 7
“What deep readings his modified sensibility might make of human suffering, of the self-destructive folly or sheer bad luck that drive men toward ill health! Birth, death, and frailty in between. Rise and fall–the was the doctor’s business, and it was literature’s too. He was thinking of the nineteenth-century novel. Broad tolerance and the long view, an inconspicuously warm heart and cool judgement; his kind of doctor would be alive to the monstrous patterns of fate, and to the vain and comic denial of the inevitable; he would press the enfeebled pulse, hear the expiring breath, feel the fevered hand begin to cool and reflect, in the manner that only literature and religion teach, on the puniness and nobility of mankind…”

Narration, Page 87
“The very complexity of her feelings confirmed Briony in her view that she was entering an arena of adult emotion and dissembling from which her writing was bound to benefit. What fairy tale ever had so much by way of contradiction?”

Narration, Page 106
“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.”

Narration, Page 162
“I’ll wait for you was elemental. It was the reason he had survived. It was the ordinary way of saying she would refuse all other men. Only you. Come back.”

Narration, Page 249
“This was her student life now, these four years, this enveloping regime, and she had no will, no freedom to leave. She was abandoning herself to a life of strictures, rules, obedience, housework, and a constant fear of disapproval. She was one of a batch of probationers–there was intake every few months–and she had no identity beyond her badge.”

Narration, Page 260
“From this new and intimate perspective, she learned a simple, obvious thing that she had always known, and everyone knew: that a person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn, not easily mended.”

Narration, Page 287
“We catch this young girl at the dawn of her selfhood. One is intrigued by her resolve to abandon the fairy stories and homemade folktales and plays she has been writing (how much nicer if we had the flavor of one) but she may have thrown the baby of fictional technique out with the folktale water. For all the fine rhythms and nice observations, nothing much happens after a beginning that has such promise.”

CC, in a letter to Briony, Page 295
“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? There is no one, no entity or higher form that she can appeal to, or be reconciled with, or that can forgive her. There is nothing outside her. In her imagination she has set the limits and the terms. No atonement for God, or novelists, even if they are atheists. It was always an impossible task, and that was precisely the point. The attempt was all.”

Briony Tallis, Page 350-51
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