Plot, Part A:Atonement begins while protagonist Briony Tallis is in the process of transitioning from a child to an adult. Her wealthy parents, Jack and Emily, invite their young nephews Jackson and Pierrot along with their teenage niece, Lola, to their British country home while their parents are struggling through a nasty divorce. Briony initially discusses the joys of the imagination and writes a childish play starring her cousins for her homecoming brother, Leon, but soon becomes captivated by other events. Her childlike innocence is forever destroyed by the inciting force of witnessing her sister, Cecilia, stripping in front of servant and love interest Robbie Turner, by a Triton statue. Briony misinterprets their relationship as unconsenting and swears to protect Cecilia from Robbie’s predatory actions. Briony creates the crisis when she falsely accuses Robbie of Lola’s rape which family friend Paul Marshall commits during a night of searching for the missing nephews. Robbie is jailed but released early when he enlists in the military during World War Two. Cecilia disowns her loving family for believing Briony’s allegations and joins the nursing field and longs to reconnect with Robbie, before both are killed in the conflict. Briony’s adulthood is blanketed with guilt that burdens her life. Briony speaks with a fatally wounded soldier during the climax and discovers the true horrors of the predicament she has set upon Robbie and compares it with her petty attempts to right the situation. Briony discovers Robbie and Cecilia have died and believes that creating a book about her true crime is best way to execute atonement. She resolves to publish it after her death and to rewrite Robbie and Cecilia’s story so their love may remain alive forever. Conflict, Part B:Main Conflict: Briony versus herselfBriony reflects on her memory of her testimony in Lola’s rape trial and considers its shortcomings. She remembers her views as more “complex” (169) than her statements and experiencing moments of “unease…when she could not express these nuances” (169) under the unrelenting pressure of the detectives. Briony experiences a disconnecting conflict between her thoughts and her actions as she suppresses the reality of Paul Marshall’s involvement in order to satisfy the detectives with her alternative story. Briony is in a conflict with guilt during her teen years after testifying falsely in Lola’s rape trial. She holds herself together by “narrowing her thoughts, reiterating her testimony” (171) and “wilfully erasing” (171) her guinen memories of Lola’s rape. Briony’s determined efforts to remove her unfavorable visions to improve her mental health emphasize her struggle to remove a part of herself. Secondary Conflict: Innocence versus societyBriony becomes a nurse and is sent to comfort a young soldier who arrives after sustaining a major head wound, when a truck pulls in with countless other wounded men. He obliviously hallucinates that Briony is his hometown sweetheart and observes “the commotion around him with a kind of abstracted childlike wonder” (305) completely unaware of his predicament. His innocent bliss highlights the savageness of the scene where nurses are scrambling to save hundreds of wounded soldiers.Atmosphere, Part C:Chaotic and Hopeless:Robbie is serving as a soldier who is defending France during World War Two when his superior officer directs him to retreat across France to Dunkirk. He and other comrades advance onto a road and observe a scene that “looks simple” as they “pass more bodies on the road…The stench becomes cruel” (227) as fear and silent desperation stalk the pack. The dreary picture’s brutal sights and odor create the feeling of desperation, disorder and unthinkable priorities as people abandon all non-essentials to survive. Curiosity and New Briony meanders about her country home before peering out an upstairs window and seeing her sister Cecilia shockingly disrobe in front of house servant Robbie. She is mesmerized and observes only “Robbie and the clothes on the gravel, and beyond, the silent park and the distant, blue hills.” (39) while becoming intensely curious and presumptuous. Briony’s momentous first post-innocence experience is perfectly captured by the naturally offsetting blue hills and silent park. Main Character Development, Part D:Briony opens Robbie’s accidental letter to Cecilia and is shocked by Robbie’s adult lust for her. She worries deeply that “Something irreducibly human, or male is threatening the order of her household,.” (114) and fears for her sister’s safety. Briony perceives Robbie’s note as harassment towards an innocent victim and naively feels she must protect her sister.Briony reflects on her damning testimony that leads to the wrongful conviction of Robbie for rape. She resolves that her false testimony troubles her far less than her “recollection of that late night and summer dawn.” (173) and continues to blissfully imagine different paths she could have taken that would have changed the night’s outcome. Briony is struck with guilt as she begins to seriously reflect on that evening’s tragic events.Briony writes a book about her childhood crime and seeks to publish it in her old age in an attempt to atone for her mistake. She ensures that “the names, the places, the exact circumstances” (369) are used in order to successfully alleviate her guilt. Briony learns to live with her guilt by planning to follow this mature course of action. Themes, Part E:Main Theme: The power of a lie can lead to profound problems for its many victims.Briony falsely testifies that Robbie Turner, instead of culprit Paul Marshall, raped her cousin Lola during a nighttime search excursion on the Tallis’ property. She admits that her “guilt refined the methods of her self torture” (173) that stain her daily activities. Briony experiences intense mental agony stemming from her fraudulent allegations that often prevents her from functioning. Robbie is found guilty of rape on account of Briony’s lies, and sentenced to prison before eventually being allowed to join the military to reduce his sentence. He enjoys military life but “dies of septicaemia at Bray Dunes” (370) while fighting for France during the Second World War. His career’s potential, and a passionate love affair, are ultimately destroyed by Briony’s mistake.Cecelia becomes deeply in love with Robbie and envisions marriage until Robbie is wrongfully convicted of rape. She furiously professes Robbie’s innocence and does “not speak to her parents, brother or sister” (208) after their support for Briony during Robbie’s sentencing. Cecilia has forever lost her one true love and a caring family because of Briony’s concocted account of Lola’s rape. Secondary Theme: Innocence should be valued, not destroyed.Briony is in the process of creating a play for her family when she witnesses from afar Cecilia disrobing beside an intrigued Robbie. She compares this disturbing scene to an orderly nursery story and remarks on the “power ordinary people could have over another.” (39) still unable to comprehend the adult world’s confusion. Briony’s first exposure to the complex world is unsettling compared to her childhood of happy-ending stories and clear boundaries. Robbie is trudging through the French wilderness on route to Dunkirk when he stumbles upon a bombed out cabin. He notices, upon further inspection, a “scrap of clothes, he begins to think, may have been a child’s pyjamas” (194) before the bombs obliterated the cabin. The previously innocent child’s confrontation of rough and cruel adult life results in his total destruction.Symbolism and Imagery, Part F: Chocolate: Selfishness.Businessman Paul Marshall arrives at the Tallis’ country home and promotes his prized Amo Bar chocolate line to the family. Leon explains to Briony that a board member is “accusing Marshall of being a warmonger” (50) because he thinks a war will help him secure contracts within the military. Marshall’s support of the devastating war in spite of the millions who will die reflects his level of greed. The Trials of Arabella: Briony’s orderly innocence.Briony meticulously directs The Trials of Arabella, a story book style theatrical production that intends to celebrate her brother Leon’s return from university. She assumes with “innocent intensity” (8) that all the play’s elements will run smoothly without considering failure as even a remote possibility. Briony’s innocence is shattered when an uninterested cast and other realities of life lead her to cancel the play. Research, Part G: DeceitWhy we lie:https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/06/lying-hoax-false-fibs-science/ Most common during teens and young adulthood. (Both Briony and Gatsby lie during this age.)Most likely reasons, (covering something up, 22%, Economic/Personal advantages, 31%, Avoidance, 14%, Self promotion, 8%).We become better at lying the more we lie, and it becomes habitual.Lies that are connected with something we like are more often told.Who we lie toThe rich lie more than the poor.The rich more likely to lie selfishly, compared to poor lying for other reasons.High society people worry that the truth will ruin their reputation.Others lying encourages you to lie. (Endless circle effect)Many people feel they need to distinguish themselves from other important people.The rich are worse at identifying others’ emotions, which leads to a higher prevalence of lying.Connections, Part H: The Great Gatsby and Atonement’s plots both revolve around enormous lies told by their respective protagonists. James Gatz changes his identity to Jay Gatsby and illegally earns money from bootlegging whereas Briony Tallis falsely accuses Robbie Turner of rape. Their motives for lying also both fall into the category of self-promoting lies. Briony lies to seek attention and to prove to herself that she can make adult decisions. Gatsby lies to promote himself in high society by distancing himself from his humble roots as a farmer. Their ability to lie may have been affected by their ages because both were in their lie-heavy teens and young adulthood at the time of their deceptions. Briony is influenced by her father Jack’s lies that lying is acceptable, and Gatsby’s position on lying is affected by his shady business partner Meyer Wolfsheim. Both Gatsby and Briony do not initially feel guilt after lying as they have almost completely convinced themselves that their lies are truth. Both books feature grand lies told to spouses. The Great Gatsby’s Tom and Daisy Buchanan, and Myrtle Wilson are all unfaithful to their spouses, just as is respectable father Jack Tallis in Atonement. Both wealthy families pretend their lies are nonexistent during dinner scenes and parties because of their fear that the truth may cause permanent damage to their grand reputations.