The Evil of Desire: the Representation of Material Wealth in Sold

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Helen Donovan
Ms. Willet- E Band
The Evil of Desire: The Representation of Material Wealth in Sold
In the novel Sold by Patricia McCormick, consumerism and material goods are used to represent the evil and avarice brought about by the desire that preys upon the hearts of characters. Lakshmi, ever the selfless, is constantly abused by those who treat her as just another item. Those most interested in material goods in the novel are more likely to treat Lakshmi in the same way. Material items in the novel Sold represent evil and temptation, showing that corruption can be brought about by our own selfishness.

Lakshmi's caring nature leads her to want only the best for her family. Her greatest desire is to help create a better life for her loved ones. However, when she decides to go to the city to work as a maid in order to gain the money to purchase a tin roof to better the quality of her family's life, everything goes downhill. She wishes to “work for a rick family like Gita does, and send home [...]” (1) her wages. She finds that her own selflessness has lead her to want, and by following the path to buy a material item, she is lead to the Happiness House. Although it is her kindness that brings her to want the best for her family, it is her desire that leads to her downfall.

On the contrary, many characters displayed wicked personalities through their shockingly, horrific acts. Muntaz, the central protagonist, evidently shows her self-indulgent manner from the start. She is first characterized as a fat pig. Upon our first meeting her, she is described as having "folds of flesh like roti dough and a face as plump as an overripe mango." (92). Mumtaz's obesity symbolizes her as an egotistical, narcissistic person. As a compulsive liar, Mumtaz is obviously depicted as a villain and a cheat. She shows no compassion. When any of the girls are not "useful", she throws them out like a worn pair of jeans. In addition, when they are defiant or refuse to work, she...
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