An Act of Kindness: Atonement By: Teresa Yuh-yi 談玉儀 談玉儀
Table of Contents
The novel Atonement
The Film Atonement
The Director: Joe Wright
12 Scenes and Assigned Questions
Author Ian McEwan
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Publication date 2001
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 371 pp
The 2007 Film : Atonement 談玉儀
Background: Atonement Wikipedia
Atonement is a 2007 film adaptation of Ian McEwan 's critically acclaimed novel of the same name , directed by Joe Wright , and based on a screenplay by Christopher Hampton .
Atonement opened the 64th Venice International Film Festival , making Wright, at the age of 35, the youngest director ever to open the event.
The film won an Oscar for the Best Original Score at the 80th Academy Awards .
Atonement begins on a hot summer day in 1935, in an English countryside setting
Then passing WWII
To the contemporary society
Joe Wright-Biography 1 source: http:// www.netglimse.com/celebs/pages/joe_wright/index.shtml
Wright was born in London, where his parents founded the Little Angel Theater , a puppet theatre in Islington.
On the strength of his paintings and Super 8 films, he gained admittance to an art school where he studied fine art and film .
In his last year, he received a scholarship to make a short film for the BBC that won some awards.
Joe Wright-Biography 2 source: http:// www.netglimse.com/celebs/pages/joe_wright/index.shtml
In 2005 he made the transition to feature films with the critically acclaimed Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley.
On a personal note, he's currently dating Rosamund Pike, who co-starred in this film.
Wright’s next feature is an adaptation Booker Prize winner Ian McEwan's novel Atonement (film) which was released in 2007.
Joe Wright-Personal Quotes source: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0942504/bio
" Pride [and Prejudice] is my first film with a happy ending. Before, I naively thought they were a cop-out (excuse), but now I've come to believe that happy endings and wish fulfillment are an incredibly important part of our cultural life."
“ Every time I make a film, I feel it gives me the chance to learn something new . I've been lucky over the past few years. Things have just happened for me.”
Plot Chart 談玉儀
Briony Tallis in her 11 and 13
“ an intense-looking ” young girl of 13 with “a willful temperament” (Christopher Hampton’s script)
A young foolish girl “who sees something from her nursery window which she doesn’t understand, but she thinks she does.”
Briony Tallis in her 18
A nurse who gives up a chance to become a Cambridge student
A young girl who plays a baptized nursing job to cleanse her guilt for causing some damage to her sister Cecilia and her lover Robbie
Briony Tallis in her 77
An old female writer in her 70s who writes her final novel Atonement to witness her foolish jealousy in her youth.
She wants to use her advantage of being a writer to compensate her guilt by writing a novel.
The son of housekeeper who works for the Tallis
His school fees are currently paid by Cecilia's father—the Old Man
Briony has a crush on Robbie
A beautiful, restless-looking girl of 23, who is making an attempt to break up with her family just for staying with her boy-friend Robbie who is accused with raping
Educated in the literature department of Cambridge University
Twins: Jackson and Pierrot
The young twins who are Briony's cousins and come with their elder sister Lola to stay with the Tallis's after this parents divorce.
Lola and Marshall
Paul Marshall - Friend of Leon's, who rapes Lola and some years later marries her.
Lola – fifteen-year- old girl who is Briony's cousin and comes to stay with the Tallis's after her parents divorce.
Nettle, Mace and Robbie
Robbie's companions during the Dunkirk evacuation.
Betty- The Tallis' main servant, described as "wretched" in personality in the novel
She is Robbie’s mother whose husband dumped them 20 years ago.
Assigned Questions Scene 1
What are functions of “the doll’s house ”?
How is the play The Trials of Arabella connected to the plot of the film?
"the complications of love"
Can you find the connection(s) between Cecilia and Richardson’s Clarissa in Clarissa ?
Find differences between a play and novel .
Assigned Questions Scene 2: The Fountain
Explain the relationship between Robbie and Cecilia
What does the fountain represent?
An almost naked woman
Why does the director shoot 2 clippings of the fountain scenes, separately form perspectives of Cecilia and Briony ?
Assigned Questions Scene 3: Loa glances flirtatiously at Marshall
How does William Shakespeare’s Hamlet symbolize in this scene?
“ To be or not to be”
Try to describe the relationship between Lola and Marshall .
How is a theme of war revealed in this scene?
Assigned Questions Scene 4: Robbie and Cecilia Missing Each Other
What is your impression with a series of jump cuts presented in this scene?
What is a function of Henry Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body ?
Why does Robbie replay the high notes of the climax duet of Act 1 of the opera La Boheme ?
Assigned Questions Scene 5: A Letter without an Envelope
Why is Robbie’s letter without an envelope when delivering in Cecilia’s hand?
Why does Cecilia blush while reading Robbie’s letter?
Does Briony see the letter before handing it to her sister Cecilia?
Why does Marshall have a faint scratch on his right check?
Assigned Questions Scene 6: An Unknown Sex Maniac
Does Lola not recognize the rapist?
Does Briony really see the rapist? Why is she so sure that the rapist is Robbie?
What does the inspector’s question “You know it was him, or you saw him?” suggest?
Assigned Questions Scene 7: Get-Together
Why is Robbie hesitated to see Cecilia after three and a half years?
What does a photography of the cottage represent?
Why does Cecilia break up with her family? And how about her situation now?
Assigned Questions Scene 8 Montague Sequences
Is it a vision of imagination that Robbie sees his mother washing his feet?
Some montage sequences are revealed in Robbie’s mind before he dies. Please explain the meaning(s) for those sequences, including:
The ink from the page
Cecilia in her green evening gown
Assigned Questions Scene 9-10: An Act of Kindness
Why does Briony insist that Atonement is her first and last novel? What does the title name suggest? (scene 9)
Compare Atonement ’s ending and the things that happens in the real world? And explain Briony’s authorial intention.(scene 10)
the word “atonement” derives from an Anglo-Saxon hybrid of the words “at” and “onement”
which rose to prominence in the theological vernacular courtesy of William Tyndale.
When Tyndale was writing the English Bible in 1526, he was looking for a word that would convey a more subtle theological nuance that the word “reconciliation” so as to also comprise the ideas of God’s forgiveness and propitiation ( 補償 ; 贖罪 )
Amid this search, the word “ atonement ” was born and has remained an integral component of theological ( 神學的 ) language and thought.
The theme of guilt, shame and anger
Tackling the gap of human incomprehension ( 無法理解 ) and the novelistic project to bridge that gap.
The theme of war and brutality of death
Bibliography and Websites Reference
Atonement . DVD. Dir. Joe Wright. Perf. Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. Universal Studios, 2007.