Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club discussion of Atonement.
How did you enjoy the reading this week? I found that by the end of the section, I didn't want to keep reading. I just had such a hard time with Briony, and I couldn't believe how she completely destroyed Robbie's life with her imagination. I just didn't want to keep reading to see how things were going to pan out for him! Did you feel that way, or were you anxious to keep reading because you hoped that things wouldn't go poorly for Robbie? There were just so many misunderstandings. I wanted everyone to just talk to each other!
Do you feel like you really know anything about any of the characters after this first section? I feel like the only character that I really know at all is Briony. The rest are a little cloudy. What are your first impressions of Briony? It's interesting that she is so creative an innovative--writing a play that is so in-depth that people could actually act it out. That's interesting. However, her creativitiy may be her only redeeming quality for me. She is so self-centered, and she is completely uncontrolled when it comes to her thoughts and opinions. At the beginning of the book, I was drawn to Robbie. He seemed like an all-around nice guy. Maybe he had some lapses in judgement when he wrote that note to Cecilia and didn't triple check to make sure that he didn't give that explicit note to her, but other than that, he seemed really kind. What did you think of Cecilia? Did you feel like you knew enough about her to make a judgement about her? I felt like Cecelia didn't know enough about herself, so it was hard for me to understand her.
Were you surprised by how quickly things progressed for Cecilia and Robbie? I felt like they went from casual acquantances to lovers so quickly. Why do you think they moved so quickly? Do you think they were always interested in each other but didn't admit it? Do you think there were other encounters and flirtations that we didn't hear about in the book? Were you surprised that Cecilia wasn't offended by the note and then met up with Robbie in the library? I think all of Cecilia's actions in this first section are so confusing. I couldn't understand why she was taking off her clothes to jump in the fountain. I felt like it was a power move, but I didn't really understand it. Do you have any insights into these two characters?
I felt sorry for the cousins throughout this section. They really seemed adrift. The boys just needed someone to take care of them, and Lola needed help as well. How do you think she got those bruises before the dinner? She says that the boys attacked her, but that doesn't seem like something they could or would do. Do you think she was attacked by an adult--maybe the same person who attacked her later? What do you think really happened outside at the temple? Briony did not see the face of the person attacking Lola, but I'm sure it wasn't Robbie. Who else could it have been? Someone at the dinner, or could it be someone who just sneaked on the grounds?
This section ends with Briony sticking to her story and accusing Robbie, even though she knows she didn't see the face of the attacker. Didn't you hope she would confess to someone that she wasn't 100% sure what happened to Lola? What do you think will happen in the next sections? What will life end up being for Robbie? Do you think he and Cecilia will meet again?
Throughout this first section, the house is an important character, don't you think? If you'd like to read about how the movie production company picked a house to film the home scenes, check out this article. And then, check out this link to find out how you can visit the house in real life!
Take a look at this article about making Cecilia's iconic green dress work for the movie version. I thought this article was especially interesting!
Finally, check out the video below to see Ian McEwan talk about his writing process. I always enjoy hearing how and where authors create their masterpieces.
I hope you enjoyed the reading this week! Make sure to join us again next week as we talk about Part 2.
I can't wait to hear from you in the comments section!