Chaotic imagination

Great stories touch on many themes and give us a long list of things that they could be said to be “about.” As I tell my students, if you think Moby-Dick is just about whale- hunting, you weren’t paying attention. Atonement, based on the best-selling 1992 novel by British author Ian McEwan, is an ambitious tale that explores guilt, forgiveness, remorse, family jealousies, inequities of the class system, the power of imagination, the role of the artist and the sanctity of the creative process. It is also a love story, which is where many such sprawling epics begin and end.


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