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Multiple Perspectives in Atonement
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Multiple Perspectives in Ian McEwan's 'Atonement'
McEwan's novel (and subsequently Wright's film), manages to grip the audience and hold its attention simply by retelling a story from different viewpoints. It is this use of multiple perspectives that allows Atonement to be more than a merely average book or film, and turns it into a moving, modern day classic. 'The novel's epigraph, taken from Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, serves as both a warning and as a guide to how the reader should view this narrative.'1 It urges them to consult their own understanding of events.
Yet, even in spite of the novels epitaph, we still place our trust in what we see and hear. This is particularly evident from watching the film. In the opening sequence, we see a dolls house, yet we do not realise it is a dolls house until the camera zooms out. Similarly, in the second scene, we see the exchange between Robbie and Cecilia from Briony's viewpoint. If this was a viewer's first experience of Atonement, they would be forgiven for sharing Briony's misunderstanding that Robbie was the villain of the story, commanding Cecilia to jump into the fountain, especially with the ominous
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