In the book Moral Disorder, Margaret Atwood depicts the themes of fractured identities, filial relationships, and gender roles. Nell is the protagonist of the stories, which focus on her ‘growth’ and evolution. What are the difficult ‘choices’ that Nell makes, and how does she take responsibility for those choices? How does the author trace Nell’s growth in the stories over the years and at different phases of her life?

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Moral Disorder is an intriguing patchwork of eleven stories that follow the life of Nell from girlhood to her twilight years. Each story is a snapshot of a different time in her life and focuses on the role of her relationships. The opening piece of the novel introduces Nell and Tig, an elderly, married couple, facing an uncertain future.

The book goes back to an 11-year-old Nell who excitedly knits a layette for her unborn sister. She reads a book on household advice and envisions a perfect life ahead.

As a young adult, Nell rebels against her mother's stern conventions. She carves a niche for herself as a freelance book editor. She falls in love with a married man, Tig, who has two children. Nell and Tig decide to leave the city and adopt a rural life. They learn to farm, grow vegetables and venture into animal husbandry. She experiences the joy of motherhood and the bliss of growing old with the man she loves.

As an older woman, Nell confronts the mortality of life with aging knees and...

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