How does Ian McEwan develop his characters in Atonement?

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Ian McEwan's novel Atonement presents some interesting challenges for readers in terms of character development. Unlike most novels, where characters are developed through their words and actions or through what others say about them, what we believe to be true about the characters in this novel is constantly changing because the "truth" of the story is constantly changing.

The story is told by Briony Tallis, the thirteen-year-old protagonist who serves as the catalyst for nearly every event that happens. The worst moment is Briony's questionable accusation of rape against Robbie Turner, an action which unalterably changes life for every character. In...

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