Human Nature

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Deana Scalise Paper 4

Human Nature

Human nature is based on self-preservation and selfishness in both Rashomon by Ryunosuke Akutagawa and The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. In The Lottery human nature is selfish because they kill someone in the community for their own personal gain. Selfishness also has a negative effect in Rashomon due to the harmful extremes the servant takes to stay alive. The way human nature is portrayed in these two stories is sometimes similar to the way people act in real life.

In Rashomon the servant turns into a thief for the purpose of staying alive. He knows better than to steal from a woman who is already poor and living amongst corpses but he steals from her anyway. He tries to justify his actions when he says “You won’t blame me, then, for taking your clothes. That’s what I have to do to keep from starving to death.” His words show that he knows what he is about to do is wrong, but stating his reasons for why he needs to do it makes him feel better. At the beginning of the story he has no intentions of becoming a thief. Soon he realizes how bad his conditions are, this weakens his morals and his first priority becomes survival. This shows that when it comes to staying alive people become selfish and less concerned with other humans well being. Humans will go to extreme measures to get what they need even if that involves harming others. This story uses a lot of animal imagery to show how people become violent and tend to forget their morals when it comes to survival, it becomes almost like “dog eat dog.” An example of this is when the woman is picking hair out of the corpses to make a wig in hopes of selling it for money; this behavior is animal like. Why is it that people resort to crimes and immoral acts before considering other options when it comes to survival?

In The Lottery the community is selfish because they sacrifice someone so their crops will grow. They need their crops to...
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