Words of Wisdom:

"Everytime You Masturbate, God kills a kitten, Please, Think of the Kittens..." - William0729

Dh Lawrence

  • Date Submitted: 04/14/2010 05:53 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 41.2 
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The “altruism” valued in the martyr is the complete opposite of the desire “to have the sacrificed recognized” so much a part of the martyr complex or making a martyr of oneself.   Is the concept of altruism, of self-abnegation, then the deciding difference between a legitimate martyr and one who attempts to make a martyr of oneself?   According to this model, those who fail to find the selflessness necessary for true martyrdom or self-sacrifice are relegated to the realm of selfishness, or the realm of the martyr complex.
      The dividing line between these two realms is a thin one and yet is the vital difference between a successful self-sacrifice and a failed self-sacrifice; according to Milbank, a sacrifice, which is in effect the offering or giving of oneself, is not a true gift unless the expectation for a counter-gift and the “principle of self-interest” are abandoned.   In Sons and Lovers, Miriam attempts martyrdom by offering herself up as a human sacrifice, surrendering her virginity for the larger cause of Paul’s satisfaction.   However, Paul’s lack of sexual satisfaction denotes Miriam’s sacrifice as a failed sacrifice, one that somehow fails to conform to the sacrificial model.   This failure lies in Miriam’s inability to separate her self from her sacrifice; her seemingly-selfless action is actually self-motivated and thus violates Milbank’s model of a true gift.   Miriam’s consciousness of herself as a sacrifice—“the principle of self-interest”—does not allow for complete self-surrender or the lack of expectation of a return gift; indeed, as long as she keeps thinking about her status as a sacrifice and what she is giving up, Miriam cannot attain the altruism necessary for martyrdom.   She never truly sacrifices herself voluntarily.   In addition, by sacrificing herself, Miriam not only expects Paul’s satisfaction but also Paul’s gift of himself in return, a counter-sacrifice.   Due to these various self-centered violations of the sacrificial model, Miriam...


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