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English Literature CWK based on "Atonement" Letter of Briony to Cecilia

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Henrik Suoheimo, LBI                                                                  [email protected]

Literature Coursework                                                                                             26 of August, 2010

Letter of Briony to Cecilia

                                                                                                                                          Cecilia Tallis

                                                                                                                                  450 Middle Street

                                                                                                                          Balham, South London


Wednesday 23 August 1940


As you might know, I am a trainee nurse now. I´m not sure whether you have received, or read by that matter, any letters from Emily or the Old Man, but I left Surrey last year. Thus, I’m not in any way writing by they’re request, or in their behalf. If you wonder my reasons to make this decision, perhaps I wanted to be part of the war effort I heard from the Old Man now and then, but I´m sure that what pushed me to be a nurse was you.

I do not want to live a life of ease and comfort, with not much sense of purpose or meaning, studying at University. I wanted to break away from the life that was made for me, waiting for me, since I do not deserve it. So if you are wondering why I choose to follow your steps, I did so simply because I needed to, and also because I would feel like a coward if I didn´t do what you did.

This is where I belong, cleaning the bedpans and scrubbing all equipment we have, being under the orders and scrutiny of the Ward Sister constantly. I am at the point where I take a certain satisfaction from my hard work and discipline. With time, my responsibilities grow too, which makes me feel useful. Also, I somehow get strenght from the idea of you going through the same, perhaps you even worked at the same hospital, here at the Royal.

Forgive me if my writing is beginning disordered, but I am in a hurry since I have only eight minutes to lights-out. It is really a pain having so little time left on my own, since that is the only moment where I can do what I love; write. I usually write these short entries about my day here. It is somewhat therapeutic, since I can resume to my old role of a writer.

Cee, I´ll go straight to the point; I want to change my evidence. It is, again, the right thing to do. I have grown up, I have matured, and I have begun to think about what I did. With time, my certainty has slowly grown into uncertainty. I am now sure that I had misconceptions which shaped what I saw, distorting my perspective. I swear you, I realize now what I did, and I will do whatever necessary to undo it. Well, I know I never will completely, but I can at least let the world know the truth.

If I can´t, however, achieve much by going up to a Commissioner of Oaths, I will clean your and his name in front of the Parents. It´s the least that I can do; I will go up to Surrey and tell them. I will tell them everything, with all the detail necessary, so that I will convince them of the truth. I know it has been five years, but please understand, I could have not done this before, at least that´s how I feel. Only now am I mature enough to do what necessary, and to understand how terrible what I did was. I was weak, stupid and confused, and I do not ask for forgiveness.

However, before anything, I need to talk to you. I know you probably will not read this, but I thought it would be correct to let you know first. I will be there  tomorrow, on Thursday. It won’t take long, I only want to know what you think and, well I need to know how are you.



Lenght: around 700 words.

Option: Literary (task based on McIan’s novel, Atonement)

Area of communication: letter

Type of text: an informal letter of Briony to her sister Cecilia.

Subject: inform she will change her evidence.

Purpose: to tell Cecilia how is she and what she will do, given her permission.

Audience: Cecilia Tallis.

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