Ethical Dilemmas In Margaret Atwood's The Year Of The Flood

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The Year of the Flood: Morals and Ethics Colliding with the at Hand Every day, as we walk along the road of life, we act and react almost on each step. Sometimes the step we take on this road is not the result of a conscious decision, but rather is the result of a decision controlled by the situation at hand. These type decisions arise most often when the situation at hand is one over which there is no control. On these occasions, the moral and ethical principles that generally govern the decision process are abandoned. The resulting decision is sometimes a shock to outsiders, who are not confronted with the reality of the difficult situation faced by the decision maker. These reaction decisions, as distinct from proactive decisions, often…show more content…
On October 13, 1972 a Uruguayan airline, carrying a team of rugby players crashed at high altitude in the Andes Mountains of South America. The survivors expected an early rescue, but it never came. A week after the crash, hungry and desperate, the survivors decided to eat their dead teammates. In Atwood’s novel, we see that the Gardener “cult” required all who joined it to abide by a strict ethical and religious code of conduct. One of its rules required that all Gardeners be vegetarian. Reasons for becoming a vegetarian vary among individuals, but the Gardeners made this a requirement because they believed that animals should not be killed for food. It was an ethical stance against meat eating, influenced by a belief that eating animal meat is disrespectful to nature and the contrary to the ‘normal’ way of…show more content…
However, she abided by her ethical principles and over time, the cravings disappeared. It was not until after the “waterless flood” that Toby abandoned her values and returned to meat eating. The uncontrolled situation that leads to this decision was severe fatigue and hunger. She and Ren had ventured through the forest desperately to find their friend Amanda, and feared they would be unable to continue. They were placed in a situation where, if they did not eat the Mo’Hair legs they had found, then their chance of continuing the search would be hampered or perhaps stopped completely. They decide to “make soup with the Mo’Hair legs” (Atwood 382), giving them the energy to continue the search, and ultimately find Amanda. They made a decision that was in direct contravention of their normal ethical codes. But the circumstances they faced were outside their control. The resulting decision was vitally important to their survival and vitally important to Amanda’s

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