The Meaning Of Justice In Ian Mcewan's Atonement

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During the course of one’s life, one will encounter situations in which one strongly feels a particular way despite a lack of evidence. Often, the strength of such convictions will cause one to act rashly, projecting one’s views onto others due to one’s tumultuous emotional state. More often than not, this rashness results in one making decisions that will harm both oneself and those around one. The rifts that are created as a result of such difficulties lead to tension and differences between individuals for years to come. From such divisions, one must find a way to be forgiven for what one has done, as only then can one obtain peace with others and oneself. In Ian McEwan’s Atonement, Briony Tallis’s struggle on her path to understanding and correcting an injustice demonstrates the manner in which one can be forgiven, showing that in order to achieve forgiveness one must take the path of righting one’s wrongdoing and admitting the truth of one’s situation. To begin, the naïvety and distorted views of reality that Briony Tallis possesses reveal her inability to understand the meaning of justice. Briony, who is only thirteen at the time, “views the adult world from a child’s perspective, seeing adult acts through the lens of melodrama” (“Atonement” 7). As a result, in reading Robbie’s letter she immediately “[casts] herself as her sister’s protector” (McEwan 115), and thus imagines that Robbie is attacking Cecilia in the library. This can be seen in her perception that

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