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Self-sacrifice Definition Essay

There will always be something in your life that you want to protect or cherish. You sacrifice yourself in order to keep these valuable things with you. Self-sacrifice, by dictionary definition is sacrifice of one’s interest, desire, etc., as for duty or the good of another. Self-sacrifice has always been a big theme in many literary works such as Crow Lake by Mary Lawson and Proof by David Auburn. In Crow Lake, the author, Mary Lawson mentions how Luke sacrifices with his education and love relationship for his family not to be separated. David Auburn, the author of the play Proof, created a situation that Catherine drops out of school, stays at home for several years taking care of his father alone while her sister is working in another city for the family. The decisions Luke and Kate make cause a huge impact on their lives. Both Luke and Catherine sacrifice for their families. But they also differ in their different responses toward their self-sacrifices.

Family is the place where we live with the ones we care, we love and we treasure. It is the same to Luke and Catherine. They can do whatever is the best for the ones they love, even to sacrifice their most valuable things. Luke, character portrayed by Mary Lawson in Crow Lake, makes a decision after his parents’ death. “Basically, I’m not going to teachers’ college. I’m staying here. The four of us are staying here. I’m looking after you guys.”(77). It will be great for Luke to go to teachers’ college because Luke is the one who can go on to higher education in Morrison Family after three generations of striving. If Luke chooses to go to college and complete his education, he can easily make enough money to support Kate and Bo going to university. But as a result, Kate, Bo and Matt may be scattered and they will live in different families, brought up by others. Luke has thought about all these factors and finally sacrifices his chance to receive education and stays to take care of his siblings.

Catherine, the protagonist of the play Proof by David Auburn, also sacrifices her university education to take care of her sick father, Robert. “I lived with him. I spent my life with him. I fed him. Talked to him. Tired to listen when he talked. Talked to people who weren’t there…” (18). Catherine’s father is a famous mathematician in Chicago but suffers from mental illness in the final years of his life. He can’t manage himself well without someone staying by his side. So Catherine quits school and decided to stay at home with Robert. Her father is the one that she treasures in her life and she wants him to have a happy time in his final years. That is why she resolutely sacrifices her education and stay with Robert.

Though both Luke and Catherine self sacrifices themselves for their families, they differs in their different responses toward their self-sacrifices. For Luke, as Kate states in the book, “Not that Luke wasn’t concerned, but ever since the day he’d decide to stay at home and look after us, he seemed to have an unshakable faith that everything would work out all right.”(163-164). Luke gives away the chance of going to teachers’ college. After that, he looks for jobs to make money for the family. While the family is facing so many serious problems such as financial crisis and educational crisis, Luke is the one who always takes the responsibility of taking care of the whole family.

He deals with things with a positive attitude and never complains about the things he did, the effort he makes and the self-sacrifice he makes for the family. He always believes that things will be alright and there will always be methods to solve those problems. In Proof, Claire comes to Chicago and meets Catherine at her house. They argue about the self-sacrifices they have made for their father. “Catherine: “. Catherine has already done a lot of things for her father. She gives up her education which is very important to her.


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