Briony Tallis, though young, is a complicated character who does not fully understand herself. She had many conflicting reasons for not attempting to atone for her damaging lie inAtonement.One of them is fear of being humiliated and possibly severely punished. Another is the thought that there is nothing she can say to undo the damage she has caused. But perhaps the most important is her unconscious envy, malice, and spitefulness, just the streak in human nature that causes people to do mean things to other people, especially when they themselves feel lonely, unhappy, and unloved. Her realization of the harm she has caused comes over her with her growing maturity and self-understanding.