Theme Of Love In Atonement

974 Words4 Pages
Atonement by Ian McEwan explores the theme of love through a variety of techniques such as symbolism, metaphors and repetition to explore various aspects of love, such as misspent, newfound and unavailable love. McEwan often intertwines the techniques with foreshadowing and imagery to convey complex emotions.

Through the symbolism of Uncle Clem’s vase, McEwan explores and foreshadows the outcomes of Cecilia and Robbie’s love. Robbie and Cecilia break the vase the day they discover their love for each other, signifying their love would not be forever. Moreover, it is later revealed that” She [Betty] said the pieces had simply come away in her hand, but that was hardly to be believed” (pg. 279). The vase had been mended by Cecilia years ago, hence, it was bound to, “come away,” later. The mended vase collapsed just like Robbie and Cecilia’s love story as, “the pieces had simply come away in her [Betty’s] hand.” Briony reveals they both died in war through the epilogue of the novel which supports that the shattered vase represented Robbie and Cecilia’s broken relationship.
Atonement also indicates the love Briony would never be able to maintain later in her life through the symbolism of the injured French soldier, Luc. Briony was to care for him for the moments he was alive at the hospital, and in Luc’s delirium, he mistakenly confesses his love for her. He symbolises the “unavailable future,” (pg. 311) Briony would have. In the epilogue, Briony was revealed to have married,
Open Document