In "The Blind Assassin" author Margaret Atwood uses the character Iris Chase Griffen to.
illuminate the whole meaning of the work. Iris is in emotional conflict between her.
obligations to her family, and her personal desires. This is shown throughout the story,.
although it first appears that her sister Laura is the one caught in this turmoil.
From the beginning of the novel, it is clear that Iris feels a strong sense of.
responsibility toward her younger sister. This is demonstrated when she eludes to the fact.
that "Laura's death was no accident," because Iris herself knows the true reasons for.
Laura's demise. As the story progresses, Iris tells of how she grew up always having to.
"watch over Laura." Though she seems resentful of this fact, Iris is constantly fulfilling.
her duty to her younger sister. Mr. Chase, Iris and Laura's father, puts the weight of the.
family on Iris before she is even an adult. Not only does he tell her that it is up to her to.
take care of her sister, Mr. Chase also begins to immediately train Iris in the family.
business by the time she is fourteen. On the first outing that Iris is asked to accompany.
her father on, he tells her something to the effect of, "It is up to you to take care of Laura,.
no matter what, and I will need you to learn to run the button factory that is the legacy of.
our family." .
It is this sense of obligation and responsibility to her family that leads Iris to.
consent to marry Richard Griffen, her father's business rival, to save her family from.
poverty and financial ruin. In doing this, however, Iris sacrifices her chances of falling in.
love and; therefore, her chances of true happiness. Even though she agrees to the.
marriage for the sake of her family, Iris is resented by Laura for her decision.
The conflict arises when a man Iris" past returns, whom she and Laura had both.
fallen in love with. More than a little willingly, Iris risks her relationship with Laura and.