In Atonement, what is a good quote that is stated by or about Paul Marshall?

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

You might want to consider the following quote, that applies to Robbie Turner. It is important because of the way it talks about how Robbie is trying to work out what to do in his life now that he has got his degree from Cambrdige, and is thinking of studying to be a doctor:

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...

Consider the way in which Robbie thinnks about the similarities between evaluation, in the way that doctors practise it on humans and the way that literature carries this process out in artistic analysis. At the end, the paragraph states that only literature and religion have the necessary gravitas and power to help us learn the most important lessons of humankind. Also, note the way in which Robbie contemplates his future in this passage when he will be 50. After thinking about what kind of man he will be, he recognises the limitations of knowledge. However many degrees he has, and however much he learns, it will not be enough to conquer the unyielding force of mortality.

ladywolfe52's profile pic

ladywolfe52 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Here are a couple of quotes I found from Paul Marshall.  The second I believe to be the best.


“None of us wants to deny anybody the ability to read.”


"Our life's dance is not painted for us in footsteps on the floor. It's not laid out so we know where to place our next step. We simply had to judge which steps best fit the rhythms that we hear."

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