The main conflict in A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin revolves around Hattie, a 12-year-old girl living in the 1960s who struggles to fit in with her family and the world around her. Hattie's grandmother, Nana, is a dominating force in the family who expects everyone to conform to her rigid standards of behavior and appearance. Nana's narrow-mindedness and intolerance for anything outside of her expectations create a hostile environment for Hattie, who feels like an outsider in her own home.
Hattie's desire for independence and self-expression clashes with Nana's expectations, causing tension and conflict throughout the novel. Hattie befriends a young man named Adam, who is mentally disabled and lives in a nearby institution, and their friendship challenges Nana's narrow view of the world. The conflict between Hattie's desire for acceptance and individuality and Nana's need for conformity reflects the broader social changes happening in the 1960s.
The novel explores themes of identity, acceptance, and the struggle to be true to oneself in a society that values conformity. Hattie's journey to find her place in the world and to stand up for what she believes in is a universal theme that resonates with readers of all ages. The novel's sensitive portrayal of mental disability and the acceptance and friendship between Hattie and Adam further highlight the importance of compassion and understanding in a world that often values conformity over individuality.
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