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The Dilatory Confession of the Novelist in Ian McEwan's Atonement
Hsueh, Ching Yuan
Hsueh, Ching Yuan
|Issue Date: ||2012-10-30 11:41:11 (UTC+8)|
Ian McEwan's Atonement is a novel experimentally weaved with a peculiar confessional form. Not until the last part of the novel are readers informed the framed narrative structure: this is not merely McEwan's novel which depicts the heroine Briony's atonement, but more importantly, the grown-up novelist Briony's own confession crafted as a novel to make amends. This complicates our reading in retrospect as the ending reveals the central dilemma: how to judge the novelist's privilege to use confession to atone for the fault made in real life.
This thesis consists of four chapters. The first chapter introduces the criticisms of Atonement, followed by my theoretical frameworks adopted to read this novel. The second chapter begins with the explications of Bakhtin's theory of dialogism and polyphony. By integrating these two concepts to scrutinize the first three parts of the novel, I attempt to analyze how Briony's self-reflexive writing and utilizations of multiple points of view expose her childhood monologic mentality and demonstrate her broadening of the self-other understandings. The third chapter discusses the ambivalent confessional twist in relation to the previous story Briony has mesmerized readers to believe. While the confession has been historically considered as a means of self-liberation, Foucault brings out another aspect that the institutionalization of the confession has turned itself into a mechanism of self-discipline. The novel eventually strikes the final note on the double impetus of Briony's narrative that her confession offers a consolation to suture with the past but meanwhile, upon close inspection, the overtones of her restoration of power as a novelist and the spirals of pleasure and power still lurk behind.
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|Source URI: ||http://thesis.lib.nccu.edu.tw/record/#G0097551003|
|Data Type: ||thesis|
|Appears in Collections:||[英國語文學系] 學位論文|
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