Atonement

Atonement quotes

31 total quotes (ID: 49)

Briony Tallis
Cecelia Tallis
Other Characters
Robbie Turner


What do you think it would feel like to be someone else?


If you write a story, you only have to say the word 'castle' and you can see the towers and the woods and the village below... But in a play it's... it all depends on other people.

[in a letter] Dear Cecilia, Please don't throw this away without reading it. As you'll have seen from the notepaper, I'm here at St. Thomas's, doing my nurses' training. I decided not to take up my place at Cambridge. I decided I wanted to make myself useful, do something practical. But no matter how hard I work, no matter how long the hours, I can't escape from what I did and what it meant, the full extent of which I'm only now beginning to grasp. Cee, please write and tell me we can meet. Your sister, Briony.

I am very, very sorry for the terrible distress that I have caused you. I am very, very sorry...

[Last lines] I never made that journey to Balham. So the scene in which I confess to them is invented, imagined. And, in fact, could never have happened... .because Robbie Turner died of septicaemia at Bray Dunes on the first of June 1940, the last day of the evacuation...and I was never able to put things right with my sister Cecilia....because she was killed on the 15th of October, 1940 by the bomb that destroyed the gas and water mains above Balham tube station. So, my sister and Robbie were never able to have the time together they both so longed for... and deserved. Which ever since I've... ever since I've always felt I prevented. But what sense of hope or satisfaction could a reader derive from an ending like that? So in the book, I wanted to give Robbie and Cecilia what they lost out on in life. I'd like to think this isn't weakness or... evasion... but a final act of kindness. I gave them their happiness.

[in a letter] My darling, Briony found my address somehow and sent a letter. The first surprise was she didn't go up to Cambridge. She's doing nurses' training at my old hospital. I think she may be doing this as some kind of penance. She says she's beginning to get the full grasp of what she did and what it meant. She wants to come and talk to me. [Folds the letter and kisses is] I love you. I'll wait for you. Come back. Come back to me.

Dearest Cecilia, the story can resume. The one I had been planning on that evening walk. I can become again the man who once crossed the surrey park at dusk, in my best suit, swaggering on the promise of life. The man who, with the clarity of passion, made love to you in the library. The story can resume. I will return. Find you, love you, marry you and live without shame.

and throwing you down the stairs. [to Briony]Have you any idea what it's like in jail? Course you don't. Tell me, did it give you pleasure to think of me inside?

[to Briony]How old do you have to be before you know the difference between right and wrong? Do you have to be eighteen before you can own up to a lie? There are soldiers of eighteen old enough to be left to die on the side of the road! Did you know that?

[to Briony]Five years ago you didn't care about telling the truth. You and all your family, you just assumed that for all my education, I was still little better than a servant, still not to be trusted. Thanks to you, they were able to close ranks and throw me to the ****ing wolves.

Tommy Nettle: No one speaks the ****ing lingo out here. You can't say 'pass the biscuit' or 'where's me hand grenade?', they just shrug. Cause they hate us too. I mean, that's the point. We fight in France and the French ****ing hate us. Make me Home Secretary and I'll sort this out in a ****ing minute. We got India and Africa, right? Jerry can have France and Belgium and whatever else they want. Who's ****ing ever been to Poland? It's all about room, Empire. They want more empire, give 'em this shithole, we keep ours and it's Bob's your uncle and Fanny's your ****ing aunt! Think about it.
Tommy Nettle: ...so I says to him: "you can sit round here twiddling your thumbs, waiting to get your head blown off if you want to, 'm off out of it"...

Paul Marshall:Bite it. You have to bite it.

[Robbie breaks a vase]
Cecelia:You idiot! You realise this is probably the most valuable thing we own.
Robbie:Not any more, it isn't.

Leon: Guess who we met on the way in?
Cecilia: Robbie.
Leon: I told him to join us tonight.
Cecelia: Leon! You didn't!

Cecelia: :[after reading Robbie's letter] I suppose he's what you might call eligible.
Leon: Rather!
Cecelia: He certainly seems to think he's the cat's pyjamas. Which is odd, considering he has pubic hair growing out of his ears.