The Major Character In Mcewan's Atonement And Identity Crisis

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Psychoanalysis is an appealing field for theoretical inquiry, and it is commonly argued that it is instrumental to the literature production and reception as well. In the previous two chapters, we have already given a general background of theories of identity and identity crisis, mainly psychological theories, and its existences in postmodern literature. In this chapter we will focus on how the major character in McEwan’s Atonement experience identity crisis relying on the social psychologist Erik Erikson’s theory of identity crisis. We will select some pertinent passages, and attempt to diagnose the character’s psychological conflicts displayed throughout the implicit and explicit characterization. By observing Briony’s character through Erikson’s perspectives, we will come across two of his eight stages. First, when Briony is at the age of thirteen, when a child enters the adolescent…show more content…
Erikson’s theory of identity crisis, as we have seen in the first chapter, claims that the adolescent’s main task is to assume his/her ego-identity and sense of sameness . Achieving ego identity is a hard and complex task that faces adolescents, but it must be fulfilled (Fleming, 9-11). Atonement is opened with a scene in Tallis’s house on a worm summer day in which the reader makes acquaintance with the Tallis’ family members and their siblings (Sernham, 2009). Readers will notice that the major
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