Behavioral Influences of a Materialistic Attitude in Literature

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Have you even encountered a situation in which the petty desires of a person caused them to act unfairly to one another? These actions are most often invoked by jealousy, as seen in the short story Red Dress – 1946 by Alice Munro. In many other pieces of writing, this behavior is also portrayed in different ways. The actions of a person driven by greed can be the result of not only jealousy, but also protectiveness and misunderstanding. Materialistic desires strongly impact, in negative ways, how humans react to each other.

In the story Red Dress – 1946, the mother of a young girl is sewing her daughter an intricate red dress for an upcoming school dance. The daughter, who remains nameless, is very insecure. She constantly wishes to be like the all other girls in high school, pretty and popular, with all the right clothing. The young girl “wished for dresses like those [her] friend Lonnie had”. She is very jealous of small things that others possess and she does not. The teenage girl blames all her popularity problems on her mother, simply because her dress for the dance is not stylish. In her mind, she lashes out at her mother, even wishing that she didn’t have a one, like her friend Lonnie. In the girl’s house, even with company present, “her mother wore no corset or stockings, … her legs were marked with lumps of blue-green veins.” Everything that the young girl dislikes about her mother is derived from materialistic and cosmetic desires and expectations. Because she…