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3 pages/≈825 words
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Literature & Language
English (U.S.)
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ENGL-British Lit after 1789 Literature & Language Essay (Essay Sample)


In a 3-4 page essay (no title page, double-spaced, 12 pt font, w/ 1” margins), explore a topic or question related to one or more of our readings. Your essay should have a thesis that clearly states your argument or interpretation on your chosen issue. Support your thesis using evidence (quotations and/or incidents from the text). Analyze or interpret this evidence in a way that is thoughtful and pays close attention to detail. No secondary sources are required, but if you do quote an outside source, be sure to provide a works cited page or footnoted reference. This is an “open topic” paper, so you can follow a line of inquiry that interests you, but here are some topics worth considering.

Paper Topics/ Prompts

“Liars, Liars, Liars”: Fiction and Reality in McEwan’s Atonement

“How easy it was to get the whole thing wrong”: Relativity, Perspective and Accuracy in McEwan’s Atonement

“What was guilt these days?”: Guilt and Innocence in Atonement.

The Trials of Briony. The Path to Forgiveness in McEwan’s Atonement.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl: The Making of a Writer in McEwan’s Atonement

Absurdity, Brutality, and Defeat (or Heroism): The Dunkirk Evacuation and Ian McEwan’s Representation of War in Atonement.

“Make it New”: McEwan’s Attempt to Write a New Kind of Love Story

Nurse Tallis: McEwan’s Representation of World War 2 Nurses in Atonement

Narrative Divergence in Atonement and the Relativity of Belief

Cecilia Tallis and The “New Woman”: The Social Position of Women in Atonement.

Issues Related to Social Class in Atonement (Robbie Turner and Modern Class Mobility, Education, Professions, Lingering Prejudices, etc)
all these topics are according to McEwan’s Atonement.


Student’s Name
Tutor’s Name
Guilt and Innocence in atonement
“Atonement” is a novel written by Ian McEwan featuring the characters; Briony Tallis, Robbie Turner, Cecilia Tallis, Lola Quincey and Paul Marshall among other characters. Among other themes that feature in the book, the most outstanding one is guilt and innocence as depicted by the characters throughout the novel. On the theme of guilt, the author casts the dangers of power of imagination and its potential harms when unleashed to the social world. Therefore, this research will explore the theme in relation to the characters and how it unfolds in the novel.
As powerful as it emerges from the book, guilt is a virtue that shapes a relationship between people as can be depicted from the book. Briony spent her whole life burdened by the guilt of the testimony against Robbie. First, Robbie did not sexually assault her older sister, Cecilia but Briony’s naivety and desire for attention make her jump to the wrong conclusion. Secondly, Robbie did not rape her cousin, Lola, but her jealous misconception leads her to wrongly implicate Robbie. So this was the guilt these days. The guilt of making an innocent person spend three years in prison for the crime he did not commit.

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