What is a good quote by Emily in Atonement?

Expert Answers
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Literature is subjective, especially when looking at fiction. This being said, what one may define as a "good quote", another may find nothing substantial in the same words.

As for a quote from Emily, in McEwan's Atonement, one needs to understand Emily's perspective in the novel. Bedridden for the majority of the text, Emily suffers from severe migraines. Given this, the pain one feels from constant migraines can cause their normal temperament to be changed.

The most pertinent images of Emily appear as provided by the narrator. While her "quotes" provide simplistic ideas, the narrator's understanding of Emily's character much better.

She would soothe the household, which seemed to her, from the sickly dimness of the bedroom, like a troubled and sparsely populated continent from whose forested vastness competing elements made claims and counterclaims upon her restless attention...She had no illusions.

This, although deep into the novel (chapter seven) offers readers a defined understanding of who Emily really is. She is a woman, who despite her 'ailment' recognizes the importance of taking care of her family. She also recognizes that it will be hard, given the different directions that she is pulled. The fact that she can "send her tendrils into every room of the house" shows her desire to become the one all can depend upon.