ATONEMENT - ATONEMENT PartI McEwan'...

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ATONEMENT Part I McEwan's Atonement begins on a hot day at an English country manor,  the house of the Tallis family. Jack Tallis, the father, is not at home, as is  the normal case. Emily Tallis, the mother, is in bed with a migraine  headache. The children, therefore, are left fairly on their own. Briony, the  thirteen-year-old fledgling writer, has created a play that she is rehearsing  with her cousins, Lola, Jackson, and Pierrot, who have come to stay with  them while their parents go through a divorce. This is a special day. Leon,  the oldest child of the Tallis family, is coming home from London for a visit  and Briony's play is for him. Meanwhile, Cecilia Tallis, who is twenty-three and home from college for  the summer, is emotionally irritated. Her edginess has something to do  with Robbie Turner, the son of the Tallis's housemaid. Robbie has grown  up with the Tallis children and has always been a close friend with Cecilia.  But in the past few years, Cecilia and Robbie have become uncomfortable  in one another's company. There is a sexual tension between them,  though they are both afraid to admit it. Once Leon arrives with his friend Paul Marshall, the group sits down to  dinner. Just prior to dinner, Robbie had given a note to Briony, asking her  to present it to Cecilia. The letter is Robbie's way of broaching the subject  of his recently discovered love for Cecilia. Briony cannot resist reading the  note before giving it to her sister. The sexual nature of the note pushes  Briony into a panic. She believes that her sister is in danger. When she  catches Cecilia and Robbie in a state of heavy passion, Briony thinks  Robbie is hurting Cecilia and believes Robbie is a serious threat to the  family. When the twins go missing after dinner and everyone goes out into the  night to search for them, someone rapes sixteen-year-old cousin Lola.  Briony is the first to come upon Lola and sees a shadowy figure  disappearing. Lola sounds terribly upset and acts as if she does not know 
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who has done this to her. Briony convinces her that it was Robbie.Robbie  is arrested for rape. Part II This section of the novel follows Robbie, who has been released from  prison early because he has volunteered to go into the British army. It is  1939. He has not seen Cecilia for more than three years. They meet briefly  before he is sent to France. The story then switches to France, where the  British troops have been defeated and are retreating.
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