Compare How Atonement and Spies Explore the Journey from Innocence to Experience.

1436 words 6 pages
Compare how Atonement and Spies explore the journey from innocence to experience.
Both Atonement and Spies are bildungsroman where the protagonists are reminiscing about events in their childhoods which impose on them in their adult lives. In Atonement, Briony is narrating throughout the text; however the reader only finds this out at the end and in Spies Stephen is narrating with his older and younger self through duel narration with slippage between the two. Both text were published within a year of each other, Atonement in 2001 and Spies in 2002; however they both focus on the same time in history, during (and after) the Second World War. Spies focuses on one point in time around 1940; whereas Atonement ranges before, throughout and
…show more content…

The reader only learns that his wife is German and no more information throughout the novel other than the fact that Stephen had a family with her and that she died. The reader is witness to the presumably only sexual act between Barbara Berrill and Stephen where they exchange two kisses “she leans closer still, and rests her lips against mine” it is presumed that this is Stephens first kiss with a girl due to his initial reactions “Nice?...I was too

busy thinking about the germs” a typical young boy’s reaction to the opposite sex. This scene can be said to be one of the most normal childlike behaviour in the entire text, through the experimental aspect that has been associated with growing up. The motif of sexuality and relationships is greatly explored in atonement compared with that of Spies. Early on in the narrative Robbie and Cecilia “make love” this act creates and spurs on a relationship throughout the rest of the narrative with longing for a similar experience; however like spies this act never occurs again whereas unlike spies neither Cecilia or Robbie indulge in any sexual contact after their initial “library scene”