Tuesday, November 8, 2011

E.B. White

Charlotte and Wilbur were alone in the pen at the state fair grounds discussing their friendship and how each meant so much to the other.  This is when Charlotte revealed to Wilbur that she would not be returning to the farm with him, she was too sick and would soon die.  Wilbur threw a fit and once he realized there was nothing he could do to get Charlotte to return he woke up Templeton and asked him to quickly go get Charlotte's egg sack so that they could bring it back to the farm with them and make sure her children were safe.  Templeton would not agree, saying he always runs errands and always does favors for them and they never do anything for him in return.  Wilbur is quite annoyed and calls him a spoiled child at one point, when he remember how much Templeton loves food.  Wilbur tells Templeton that he will let him eat first everyday when he's fed and he won't go near the food until Templeton is done.  With this Templeton agrees and goes and gets the egg sack and brings it down to Wilbur.  Wilbur puts the sack in his mouth and winks at Charlotte as he is being placed in the pin to go back to the farm, Charlotte uses all her energy to wave back.  Charlotte dies the next day, alone and no one at the fair grounds even noticed.  Wilbur watched the generations of Charlotte's children and grandchildren and so on.  He loved them so much but none of them as much as Charlotte for she was a true friend and a writer, which is not happened upon often.

This story is America in a nutshell.  There are few people who do things for others out of the goodness of their hearts, few true friends that would do anything for others no questions asked.  Charlotte and Wilbur are those rarities that are true friends and would give their lives for one another, as Wilbur mentions in the reading.  Templeton seems to be like most people in America now.  What's in it for me?  Why would I want to do this if I don't benefit from it?  If you take a moment and just step back to observe people this happens everywhere.  Selflessness is so uncommon that no one can truly know what it is.  We're all guilty of wanting something in return, whether we think so or not.

How did America come to this? I think it's quite clear that we have always been like this. There are few people in our history that can say they were truly selfless.  In the beginning of our country we had slaves, people were owned who were not paid and essentially did free work for the white Americans.  There are few selfless acts in our history.

In the bible there is a story of two women who claimed a baby boy was theirs.  They told the two women that they were going to cut the baby in half and let the women split him.  The woman who would give up the boy is the mother because she didn't want her baby boy to get hurt.  I think this is a selfless act in that the woman was putting aside her feelings so the baby would survive, even though she wouldn't see him or get to raise him. The other woman was willing to cut the baby in half, showing her selfishness and that she didn't even care about that baby boy.  It was decided who the real mother was and that is who got the baby, could you imagine the relief to that mother?

The question that lies here is how can we get back to be selfless, to wanting to help other just to help others?  I think that this society has gotten to the point of no return.  There is no way that we, as a society, could ever be selfless because we all care about ourselves too much.  When there's a homeless man on the street we tell him to get a job instead of going to McDonald's and buying him a burger.  Whether or not that man is really homeless is irrelevant because that person who just passed the man doesn't care one way or the other.  Helping someone in need is so rarely done because you couldn't get anything in return, and if you do help someone in need it's almost always because you get something in return.  You say that a lot of people help those less fortunate with nothing in return?  I disagree.  There is always something that someone gets in return, even if it's just a sense of satisfaction.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. You got all of that out of Charlotte's Web. Good lord, but I must say it is good perspective on how to view the people in the world who always want to know "whats in it for them?" arent you a little genius.