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In Joseph Hellers Catch-22 and Ian McEwans The Atonement there are several common tones between both works which add to the emotional weight of the books and help to create a compelling story While not the only tones within each piece three of the common tones are a sombre mood an ominous foreboding and detached horror The ways these tones are established and maintained differ due in part to the authors style and the form of prose fiction that they are Ian McEwans The Atonement a confession-styled book revolving around a young girl Briony whose false accusations lead to the eventual death of her sister Cecilia and her sisters lover Robbie Turner is steeped in sorrow for much of the work She feels great guilt for her actions Her memories of the interrogation and signed statements and testimony or of her awe outside the courtroom from which her youth excluded her would not trouble her so much in the years to come as her fragmented recollection of that late night and summer dawn How guilt refined the methods of self-torture threading the beads of detail into an eternal loop a rosary to be fingers for a lifetime McEwan 173 This sort of past-tense regret is common to confessional works as she is returning in memory to the point where her crime was greatest She bears this weight throughout the book from part way through Part One until the very end of the book Her actions echo through the rest of the work and create all the plot points that follow It is revealed at the end of the book that The Atonement is actually a work written by Briony Tallis wherein she creates a fantasy that Cecilia and Robbie live happily ever after when in fact they are killed as an indirect result of her actions There was a crime But there were also lovers All the preceding drafts were pitiless But now I
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