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Focalization in atonement by Ian McEwan

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  1. Chapters 2 and 3 are focalized through Cecilia's and Briony's eyes
  2. It helps us understand Briony's misinterpretation of the scene and her later mistakes and misinterpretations

?She felt obliged to produce a story line ? Then the scene could be recast, through Cecilia's eyes, and then Robbie's? (41) writes ironically Ian McEwan in his novel Atonement. Focalization in the beginning of the novel follows a particular pattern as a the events that occur are being depicted by different focalizers changing every chapter. Chapters 2 and 3 are focalised through Cecilia's and Briony's eyes, respectively. In this essay we will focus our discussion on an essential event: the incident at the fountain , which is a trigger for the subsequent events. Its representation more than once by Cecilia and Briony is important because it shows the character's divergent preoccupations and how they shape the characters' experience. Furthermore does it helps us understand Briony's misinterpretation of the scene and her later mistakes and misinterpretations. In Chapter 2 and 3, focalization is used to draw us into two fields of experience of the incident by the fountain. The narration is heterodiegetic as an omniscient third-person narrator relates and describes the thoughts and feelings of the two focalizers: Cecilia and Briony. We see through their eyes.

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