Crow Lake and Proof Comparative Essay

Self Sacrifice In Its Finest Forms Self-sacrifice is something that one witnesses everyday, be it through the media, literature, or in ones own life. A prime example of selflessness is recognized in the novel series The Hunger Games written by Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games is an event where one boy and one girl from each district are chosen to fight to death for their survival. When the protagonist Katniss’ little sister is chosen to be district twelve’s representative, Katniss doesn’t have a second thought when she volunteers herself to take her sister’s place.

Katniss knows that she will most likely die, but by sacrificing herself to protect her sister she is demonstrating the strongest example of altruism. The action of self-sacrifice is usually motivated by the hardship one observes in their own surroundings and is viewed by others as a courageous act. In the novels Crow Lake by Mary Lawson and Proof by David Auburn, self-sacrifice is the main theme of the plot. Luke from Crow Lake and Catherine from Proof both show exemplary actions related to this topic, as both give up considerable amounts to provide for their family, including their education as well as their social lives.

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Luke looks after his siblings to provide a better future for them while Catherine takes care of her father to provide a comfortable end. When the time came for both Luke and Catherine to choose whether or not to move forward with their lives or make that hard decision to give up everything to care for the ones they love, both decide that their family was more important. Both give up education as well as their social lives even though they have the option to continue their lives and not take on this huge responsibility.

Luke Morrison, the eldest child, makes the decision to give up teacher’s college to keep his family together, “I’m not going to teacher’s college. I’m staying here. The four of us are staying here. We’ll have the money I would have used to go to college” (Lawson 73). Attaining higher education was instilled at a very young age as an important aspiration by Great Grandmother Morrison and Luke’s decision to give that up shows that the meaning of family triumphs over everything. Likewise, Catherine, the protagonist in Proof, leaves behind her own education to take care of her father who is suffering from schizophrenia.

As her sister neglected the responsibility of taking care of their father, Catherine took it upon herself to make the necessary sacrifices to provide the proper care, “you had your own life, you got to finish school” (Auburn 44). By giving up her education and future career, Catherine’s self sacrifice gives her father, Robert, the chance to be comfortable in his own environment. Although the similarities between Luke and Catherine are clearly visible, their living situations are very different. Luke’s responsibilities have a much more important role to play with the well being of his family.

He takes on the role as the provider, and without him there would be no possibility for his siblings to attain their greatest potential. When Luke decides to put aside his future, there is no time for him to sit around and “play”, he has the responsibility of finding a job as well as keeping his siblings in order. However Catherine who has no other responsibility than to take care of her fathers basic needs is able to live stress free in the sense of not needing to worry about any financial issues.

This is clearly stated when her sister Clair complains about the stress in having to provide that financial aid. “I was working 14 hour days. I paid every bill here. I paid off the mortgage on this 3-bedroom house while I was living in a studio in Brooklyn” (Auburn 44). Although Catherine’s daily life is much less productive then Luke’s it causes a much more depressing environment. Luke’s surrounding are much more positive and understanding of his purpose to support the family, as well being able to feel accomplished with his end goal.

While Catherine doesn’t really acquire that same sense of accomplishment and praise with the self-sacrifice she demonstrates. Although there are many similarities to link Luke and Catherine with self-sacrifice, they are in completely different situations. Luke’s overall goal is more stressful than Catherine’s because he has to provide for his entire family and give them that stepping stones for their futures, while Catherine is merely trying to help her father feel more comfortable on his downhill road to his end.