How does the role of relationships affect the theme of self- reflection in Gilead?



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One relationship role in Gilead is very specific--that of father and son--and this affects the minister very deeply as he tries to examine and wrestle with his own conscience over feelings of envy and covetousness--and the blame he feels he needs to place within his own family. He preaches lessons about love and forgiveness that he cannot follow himself, although he constantly scrutinizes the bible to help him live a morally upstanding life in public. In private, his heart is full of resentment and restlessness for better things. However John Ames is only showing the frail humanity we all share and at least, on self-reflection, he recognizes and admits to his own weaknesses. He covets the loving lifestyle of his friend and envies him. Reverend Ames also has anger management issues, but again this is a common family problem from grandfather down through the generations. All his examination of self and conscience is coloured by his disappointment in his relationships and life journey. He fails to see and accept that his son's life is not his to lead but the gift of life for the person living it, no matter how they choose to do that: it is their decision, even if it's hurtful to others.

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