Study Guide

Atonement Chapter 6

By Ian McEwan

Chapter 6

  • Emily Tallis retreats to her bedroom to wait out a migraine—which she refers to as a "black-furred creature."
  • Her son Leon has no ambition, she thinks, before going off on an internal rant about how Cecilia's smoking and education will prevent her from ever being married. It's quite a detailed rant, though at the end of it Emily asserts that she's not even the tiniest bit jealous of Cecilia. Okay, then.
  • Emily shifts her attention toward Briony next. She loves Briony and wants to protect her from failure and from Lola. Lola reminds Emily of her melodramatic sister Hermione, which makes sense since Hermione is Lola's mom.
  • Lying quietly, Emily can hear throughout the house and knows that the rehearsals have fallen apart. She hears Cecilia arranging the flowers, the arrival of Leon and Marshall, and the twins being taken off to bed.
  • She thinks about Briony growing up and being more withdrawn, and thinks about wanting another child.
  • The migraine begins to fade and Emily determines to go out soon and take her place as hostess.