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quinta-feira, 13 de dezembro de 2012

Paper on Atonement: novel x movie

The essential idea of this paper is to write about the film and book “Atonement” describing the plot of the story and making comments about the psychological traits inherent in it. The story starts one day in the hot summer of 1935, In England, in a rich rural property at Tallis´s house, a typical aristocratic family. There live the matriarch Emily Tallis and her two daughters – the willful Cecilia Tallis and the youngest Briony Tallis. At that moment, they prepare for the arrival of their eldest son Leon who is supposed to come later in the day. Briony has written a play in order to welcome her brother Leon. This novel has three main characters: Briony showing to have a great talent for writing, especially because of her intense creativity and her curious imagination; Briony´s older sister Cecilia which has returned home from Girton College, Cambridge. It is also home to Robbie Turner, the son of the housekeeper, which was raised in this family and was a Cecilia’s childhood friend. He is in home from Cambridge University for the summer. He was educated at Cambridge supported by the deceased patron Jack Tallis, the Tallis´s father. There’s a strong connection between Cecilia and Robbie, however, at that point, it is still unsolved, and they are not sure about the reciprocity.
The first scene arises what is to be the main focus of the story: the inspired imagination of Briony, a girls of 13 years old that aspires to be a writer. The youthful Briony is the only witness of their involvement, when in certain occasions; she regarded some sinuous flirtations and desires between Cecilia and Robbie. The first event started when Briony observed, through the window, a certain magnetism linking Cecilia with Robbie. It was then at the fountain of Tallis´s house, Cecilia wanted to fill a vase with water when she meets Robbie and start talking. Robbie wanted to help her but she refuses, wherefrom they’ve began an intriguing disagreement. The vase breaks and some pieces go down into the fountain. Cecilia removes her paints, and falls into the fountain and takes back the portions while Robbie stares at her. Briony was an eyewitness of their moment of sexual tension. Therefore, it was what has made she to presume in her innocent childish perspective, a mistaken reality: a sort of abuse which at that period she was not able to understand.  
At dinner of Leon’s reception, Briony observes curiously the liaison between Cecilia and Robbie in order to invade and be aware of adult’s mysteries. With her powerful imagination of a teenager, which loves to write stories, she watches the adult world in a certain distance, without having the capacity to understand the feelings that flows, at that night, between her sister and Robbie. There were many others circumstances which Briony has witnessed, but the most remarkable was the letter Robbie entrusted her to give it to Cecilia. This letter contained a very intimate declaration with a very vulgar word, which has led the teenager Briony to interpret it in a different reality; in her little understanding, she concluded that Robbie was a sexual maniac and her sister was in dangerous.
Thus, she started to fantasize a would-be monster, denigrating the image of Robbie. However, the plot took place the day the twins disappeared from their view, when Briony encounter Lola, a 15 years old girl and her cousin, in a sexual intercourse, which for Briony it was not very clear, what has impelled her to deduce it was an abuse. As Briony has not seen the “maniac”, whereas she has created Robbie’s image as a sex maniac, she draw a conclusion that it was Robbie the abuser. Thus, instigated by motivations not very comprehensible, she reveals a lie that will shake dramatically Cecilia and Robbie’s lives.
Robbie arrested unfairly by the false accusation of Briony, changes the whole scenario, when in the second part of the story, the backdrop is no longer the bucolic England. However, it begins to revolve around the Second World War in its worst moments for England and also for all characters, mainly Robbie and Cecilia: Germany is gaining ground and the English troops in France territory are trapped, it seems there’s no hope. Hence, the story moves toward an ending apparently predictable but it’s only apparently.

To start with, there’s the problematic of interpretation, seeing that analyzes are somewhat subjective and personal inside each people’s head, which turn out to be very complicated to verify the real convergences between the book and the film. Nevertheless, it will be highlighted some of the aspects most evident.
   The movie is almost quite loyal to the book, with some exception, such as a few details in the war omitted in the movie, but to a certain extent, those details are irrelevant. According to the site (Book vs. Film: Atonement. 2009), considering  that the book plays with a set of meta-language, ultra-long paragraphs, ultra-long sentences, ultra-long scenes which elucidates not just what a given character thinks but how it links to what it used to think in the past and will think in the future. The novel also explores more the particularities of the realism than in the movie, given that it would be impossible to describe every situation from the book to the movie, by showing nuances of how our actions can brings us consequences.
According to the site (Atonement (film). 2009), the film has a great investment regarding the characterization of the personages and scenario. The beautiful England representation in the 30, poetical and bourgeois, the soundtrack is outstanding and thrilling. Each character has quite noticeable features; the body language shows a lot about their inner feelings and their impressions, and more, it is through their eyes and their exchange of looks what gives us the routing of the plot, which the script tries to cover-up. Thus, instead of the metalanguage, the movie has appropriated more to the body language and the impressions manifested by their acting and manners, especially with the eyes expressions and communications, such as longing glance and intense glare, to characterize the whole story in the screen.
 According to the site (Book vs. Film: Atonement. 2009), the novel’s technique is substantially wordy; its language is well-elaborated, lush, long-winded, calculating pacing and has complex structure which requires some concentration, while the film is vague, with long silent pauses, short dialogues, prominent images that speak for it, profoundly inward and deals with the surfaces of emotions between people. The movie takes on a slower rate, a wider course, pursue events rather than follow the minimum details in alterations of traits. And throughout the film, it loses a good deal of the significant moments and symbolisms that the author has focused in the book.
According to the site (Book vs. Film: Atonement. 2009), another very particular distinction between the book and the film is that the author of the novel converges directly on the condition that practically, all the time that two people get together, they have totally divergent expectances and comprehension of what is happening. While the film involves the tension of individual moments.  As an example, in the film, the scene by the fount performs a similar one, twice and silently: starting with Briony´s outlook and then with Robbie and Cecilia’s perspective, so spectators can sense their discussion. On the other hand, in the book, the writer McEwan goes beyond, when he plays the scene out from each of their panoramas successively, in order to allow the reader to infer what was going on in the characters minds, and to show the way people misinterpret the behavior of others. Moments like that are plenty in this novel, which are perceived from different perspectives to demonstrate how these people can misunderstand each other. 


The British writer Ian McEwan portrays many themes in this work and uses numerous stylistic methods, as well as psychological realism and meta-fiction, but notably he deals with the relativism of truths; For instance: the matter that how it can be possible to see things in different angles, to have multiple possible interpretations for a single scene or even to a single “reality”. According to the site (Psicologia & Fisioterapia Sorocaba. 2009), the horrors of the World War II and the amount of damages someone can cause to others, even subtly, are placed side by side, suggesting an approach between the destructive capacity of the exterior, in other words: the war, and the interior, through our most hidden desires, that when expresses themselves, can hurts the object of desire. McEwan, in this novel, applies a parallel between himself, the real writer, with Briony, the fictional writer. Throughout the story, he makes an analogy between himself, an author of literary fiction, and Briony, not just her literary fiction but also her real-life fiction. This comparison originates a link between the author’s life with Briony´s life in the narrative.
According to the site (Psicologia & Fisioterapia Sorocaba. 2009), Briony is undoubtedly the main character of this novel because it will be her decisions what is going to influence the whole plot, from the beginning till the end. It narrates in details the relationship between three main characters: Briony, Cecilia and Robbie, a considerable part of the film is about a possible love triangle among them; which is manifested, in the case of Cecilia-Robbie, and veiled, in Briony-Robbie relation. This work evokes a crucial aspect to understand the “reality” psychoanalytically, precisely because it demonstrates that the reality does not exist by itself but it will depends on the different views posted on it. A clear example of this approach in the film is explicit in the scene by the fountain, when it shows the three perspectives and impressions: once Briony sees her sister in sexual innuendos with Robbie, her impressions was scandalized; diverting the eye from the scene as if something that she disapproves, censures or even hates, was happening; it means, a relationship between her sister and Robbie. While the occurrence, from Cecilia and Robbie’s perspective, resembles just a flirt or somewhat sensual and erotic, yet, with ambiguous feelings, but without the violent, nasty and immoral nature that Briony conceives.
It may defends the possibility that Briony has experienced feelings of jealousy and envy towards Cecilia and Robbie, whereas in some vague scenes Briony has suggested to have an innocent and hazy crush on Robbie; in the episode when Briony and Robbie were in a lake, she asked him if by chance she jumped into the water, he would save her; as she had an affirmation, she did it immediately, which seemed to be a provocation and test in order to be sure if he loved her. However things went differently than she waited, Robbie indeed saved her, but he got strongly mad at her. Briony was disillusioned with the image of Robbie because of those facts, which might have contributed to the biased way Briony sees their relationship. According to the site (Psicologia & Fisioterapia Sorocaba. 2009), as the French psychoanalyst jean Laplanche (2001, p.426) has defined “the fantasies, even if it is not based on real events, have the same pathogen value of the real children's traumas in the person”. In carrying on this definition, the author accentuates that one should not confuse the psychic reality with the material one. Thereby, the work brings up a good example of several psychic realities, when it lends the perspectives of each character, offering a multiple vision of a single reality. 
According to the site (Psicologia & Fisioterapia Sorocaba. 2009), it shows also two outcomes in two different perspectives: the one that is most pessimistic and then, with more nuances of realism, showing the consequences of how they were victimized; while the other moves towards the idealism, when everything has a happy ending. Subsequently, the story takes into two directions, the first one, Robbie and Cecilia die without the reparation and the second one when the central character, who is a writer, tries to consummate the repair of her misdeed by giving to the couple happiness in the end, which it was not necessarily the reality proposed in the book. Such a reality given in the true story of the book was cruel, since Cecilia has died abandoned in a subway tunnel soon after having abandoned home. Robbie went to prison, serving the army and consequently died. They have passed away without the atonement and without their aimed love life. Thus, it presents two possible upshots, one which represents the truth and the other was chosen voluntarily in order to achieve the ideal result of Briony´s will, and mainly to withdraw her guilt feeling. This double story can induce us to reflect about the consequences of our desires, atonements, and the paradox of freewill/destiny.
According to the site (Psicologia & Fisioterapia Sorocaba. 2009), Contardo Calligaris (2007), an Italian psychoanalyst, remarks what happen to Briony when he affirms that, “in the sexual desire, usually we demolish the target of the desire. However, when we love whom we wish, love helps us to repair the effects of the brutal style of our desires”. It means that our beloved one’s needs to be idealized so that it can be protected from our overwhelming wishes, which can consume it. Supposing Briony really has desired Robbie, finally, she has destroyed the target of her desire: Robbie and then, Cecilia, her sister. Concluding that the story of love is just a backdrop; there is no hyper-romanticism in the original but only the pain of guilt Briony has suffered in the whole plot.
ATONEMENT. Directed by Joe Wright. Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster. Screenwriter: Christopher Hampton. Protagonists cast: Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave, Keira Knightley, and James McAvoy. England/France: Working Title Films, 2007. DVD (123 min.), English/French, color.  
MCEWAN, Ian. Reparação. Translated by Paulo Henriques Britto. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2002. 444 p.
  “ATONEMENT (novel)”. Website. On-line. Internet. Available:
   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atonement_(novel).  Accessed in November, 2009.
  “ATONEMENT (film)”. Website. On-line. Internet. Available:
   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atonement_(film).  Accessed in November,  2009.
“ATONEMENT / DESEJO E REPARAÇÃO (filme)”. Website. On-line. Internet. Available: http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atonement. Accessed in November, 2009.
“PSICOLOGIA & FISIOTERAPIA SOROCABA”. Website. On-line. Internet. Available:www.psicologiasorocaba.com.br/?pag=artigos&categoria=1223063716&idart=1223064209. Accessed in November, 2009.
“BOOK VS. FILM: ATONEMENT”. Website. On-line. Internet. Available:
Accessed in November, 2009.


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