Ian McEwan Writing Styles in Atonement

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Atonement is written in the third person, apparently by a neutral but sympathetic observer. The end of Part 3, however, bears the initials of the protagonist and a date six decades after the earliest events described. "BT" is Briony Tallis, whose future as a noted author is often hinted in the text but as an objective fact and with no emphasis. The signing of Part 3 leads to the conclusion that parts 1 and 3 of Atonement are a fictional autobiography cast in the third person. Part 2, set in Northern France and Belgium fleeing towards Dunkirk, is event- and character-driven narrative interspersed with inner thoughts of an increasingly feverish mind.

Assuming BT wrote this portion supposes she applied standard techniques of fiction writing. A brief postscript is cast in the first person singular. In it, Briony talks about her 77th birthday. She makes clear that the project of atoning for...

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