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Relationship Selfishness and Lack of Self Acceptance

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SELFISHNESS AND LACK OF SELF ACCEPTANCE AS SHOWN IN CARVER’S “ THE NEIGHBOURS” The fact that brings closer both terms selfishness and lack of self acceptance in terms of relationship will be the big concern of explaining how these concepts are related. Mostly, the source of task will be based on the original text “The neighbors” and other sources will also be taken as reference to support and explain the ideas extracted from the original text.

In explaining this in details, it will be very helpful to first define some key terms such as selfishness and lack of self acceptance. To define the word “selfishness” Stein (1966:1294) provides the definition of the word “selfish” that is “Devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc. , regardless of others …. ” This means that one can even enjoy the situation in which others are crying. It does not matter whatever can happen to others.

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Luwangala (2007), in his short story “The reunion”, shows an example of a selfishness case where he narrates a story of one lady called Nancy, who was away from her family for two weeks two weeks, and when she came back home, she found things scattered like there had been a funeral. Nancy then thought erroneously of her son Joshua and started crying. When she saw him, she forgot that she had found the family in mourning, she jumped and picked her son up, and she hugged him tight onto her bosom until he suffocated on her love.

On the other side, “lack of self acceptance” means failure to be happy with whom one is. Hunter (2002) discusses the terms self-realization, self-understanding and self-acceptance to explain this. Self-acceptance is one’s being loving. It is an agreement with oneself to appreciate or accept, and support who she/he is. The narrator of “The neighbors” short story draws the relationship between selfishness and lack of self-acceptance from the characters that he deployed in the story. At first, it is seen that the relationship between the two terms, one can be the result of the other and vice versa.

The family of Bill Miller was known as a happy couple, but later, due to what they felt, started thinking of their career and did a comparison with their neighbors. “They talked about it sometimes, mostly in comparison with the lives of their neighbors, Harriet and Jim Stone. It seemed to the Millers that the stones lived a fuller and brighter life” (Roberts and Jacobs, 8th Edition, p65). They found the stone’s family leading better life than theirs. Having the feeling of inferiority, they felt being underestimated.

In this regard the couple of the Millers lacked self-acceptance and as a result they wanted to live the Stones’ life which is the attitude of being selfish. Cogliano (2001), as well talks about how selfishness separates people from one another in the story of Cain and Abel. This story tells us how Cain developed the hatred against his own brother until he murdered him, just because God was pleased with the offering of his brother and not of his. He was a farmer, but he did not accept himself, which means that he had been desiring to become very rich and this is the reason why he was not offering well to God.

Hence, he became so angry that he could not restrain himself. The Millers family also envies the Stones job which offers them the occasion of enjoying life. They give less value to their job. “The Stones were always going out for dinner or entertaining at home or traveling about the country somewhere in connection with Jim’s work” (Roberts and Jacobs, 8th Edition, p65). Due to this, they were preoccupied with thoughts of wanting to be like the Stones’ family. When they saw them moving away, the narrator tells that Bill told his wife that he wishes it was them.

The fact of being selfish, according to what someone sees or to what one develops and believes in can entertain the lack of self-acceptance which leads to the attitude of selfishness. The other point which shows that selfishness can be the result of lack of self-acceptance is the desire of attractive materials. Firstly, Bill is attracted by Jim’s apartment and when he gets inside of it, he likes everything he finds in the house. He starts getting everything that he likes on his own and mostly he wants to occupy everything. He becomes very selfish. He took two drinks from the bottle, wiped his lips on his sleeve and replace the bottle in the cabinet” (Roberts and Jacobs, 8th Edition, p66). He even wants to sleep with his wife in his neighbor’s house. The way Bill liked the place reaching the stage where he wants to check, test and use everything even toilet, it shows that he has denied himself and what he has at his home. ”He opened all the cupboards and examined the canned goods, the cereals, the package foods, the cocktail and wine glasses, the china pots and pans” (Roberts and Jacobs, 8th Edition, p66).

Moreover, selfishness can cause the total denial of oneself. Bill and his wife developed the selfishness behavior to such an extent that they would wish their neighbors not to come back. “He tried to remember when the Stones were due back, and then they wondered if they would ever return” (Roberts and Jacobs, 8th Edition, p67). In Alice Walker’s “everyday use” short story (Roberts and Jacobs, 8th Edition, p101), Walker narrates a story of one family of which one daughter changed her name, giving the reason of the renaming as that she does not want to be called in the name of the people who oppress her.

This is selfishness which caused her the denial of herself and of the family, because, as it is depicted in this story, she had been named after her aunt and grandmother. Another point which can relate selfishness and lack of self acceptance is that the fact of being selfish can make someone forget who he is and what he is supposed to do. Bill forgot to feed the cat and to water the plants of Jim because he spent his time enjoying life with Jim’s goods. He was too selfish. I really and truly forgot to do what I went over there to do. I didn’t feed Kitty or do any watering” (Roberts and Jacobs, 8th Edition, p68). Of course, Guy de Maupassant wrote on this in his “Necklace” short story (Roberts and Jacobs, 8th Edition, p68). In this story, Mathilde Loisel, because of her selfishness and desire, caused her husband to release the money which was supposed to help on the development of their family, for only a dress for a party. This lady instead of appreciating what she has, troubles her husband.

Her selfishness and lack of self acceptance cost the family 10 years of hard working and living in poverty to pay for a lost borrowed necklace. Finally, selfishness entertains mostly the lack of self acceptance, and on the other way round, the lack of self acceptance leads to the fact of being selfish. In short, these terms are interrelated. This resulted to the fact that the Miller’s family became to egoistic in the absence of the Stone’s family and lost their state of living and wanted to be like the Stones. They automatically lacked self acceptance and developed the attitude of selfishness.

Their duties were to feed Kitty and watering the plants and they were self driven by a strong desire, envy, and ambition of Jim’s wealth which developed in their minds the attitude of extreme pleasure. This led them to lack of self acceptance and became selfish. REFERENCES. Roberts, V. E. and Jacobs, E. H. “The Neighbors” short story of Raymond Carver Published in “Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing” (8th Edition). by Person, Prentice Hall. The King James Version of the Holy Bible, Dan Cogliano, 2001. http://www. davince. com/bible Stein, J. The Random House Dictionary of English Language”Random House, New York. 1966. Hunter, R. J “Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling” Abingdom Press, Nashville, 2002. Ruangala, J. R. “The innocence of a Dog” Unza press, Lusaka-Zambia, 2007. Roberts, V. E. and Jacobs, E. H. “The Necklace” short story ” Published in “Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing” (8th Edition). by Person, Prentice Hall. Roberts, V. E. and Jacobs, E. H. “Everyday Use” short story of Alice Walker Published in “Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing” 8th Edition. by Person,Prentice Hall.


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