Atonement Questions and Answers
by Ian McEwan

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How is the theme of control explored in Atonement?

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Control can be most readily observed in Atonement by Ian McEwan through the character of Briony Tallis who, at the age of 13, has a crush on her family's housekeeper's son Robbie Turner. 20-year-old Robbie lusts after Briony's sister, Cecilia, and makes this lust transparent through a sexually explicit letter he accidentally shares with Cecilia (intending to send a much cleaner, more gentlemanly version). Prior to reaching Cecilia's hands, Briony lays eyes on the letter and begins to fear for her sister's life. At the naive age of 13, Briony believes Robbie to be a sexual predator.

Later in the evening, Briony's twin cousins leave a note during a dinner party announcing that they have run away. The family commences a search for the boys. While the family frantically searches the grounds, Briony stumbles upon a man raping her cousin Lola....

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