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What is the conflict in the book Atonement by Ian McEwan?

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patelsanks | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 1, 2010 at 8:24 AM via web

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What is the conflict in the book Atonement by Ian McEwan?

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 1, 2010 at 10:26 AM (Answer #2)

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The conflict in the novel Atonement is that the protagonist, Briony, a 13 year old prodigy novelist falsely makes the accusation that Robbie, a friend of the family and a potential boyfriend for her sister, Cecilia, had raped a woman named Lola.

Briony may not neccesarily have acted out of malice,  but mostly out of a bout of immature jealousy over seeing her sister and Robbie in a compromising situation. Yet, when she allowed her anger to take over and accused Robbie of being the rapist of Lola, he ended up spending 3 years in jail before going to serve in War, and he also lost Cecily.

Hence, the quest for Briony to obtain atonement (redemption, forgiveness of self) and she carried on Cecily and Robbie's unfulfilled dreams through her writings.

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