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A moment in time; most people can pinpoint one or two times in their lives when the choices they made had long term repercussions. Such is the case for Briony Tallis in Ian McEwan's book, Atonement. In the book, the concept of maturity is treated masterfully by the shift of a character's perceptions, belief systems and social realities.

Bryony Tallis is the younger sister whose literary skills are often belittled by her older sister Celia. As the book opens, she creates a play for her cousins and herself to perform. The family's dynamics are at once set as the reader finds the mother remote and as distant as the father, who seems to spend most of his nights in London, rather then at home.

As the evening's events unwind, the small details and insignificant happenings of the day are spoken about, but the undercurrent of tension is building. Later, one of the cousins is assaulted on the grounds of the house and Briony, still stinging from an insult earlier, tells the authorities that it was Robbie, their childhood friend and Cecilia's boyfriend.

Briony witnesses her sister strip down to her undergarments and dive into a family fountain with Robbie looking on. Not comprehending what was going on bet

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