“Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am.”
~Arthur Miller from Death of a Salesman
“My name,” he said, “is Jaggers, and I am a lawyer in London. . . . I have unusual business to transact with you, and I commence by explaining that it is not of my originating. . . .”
Finding that he could not see us very well from where he sat, he got up, and threw one leg over the back of a chair and leaned upon it; thus having one foot on the seat of the chair, and one foot on the ground.
“Now, Joseph Gargery, I am the bearer of an offer to relieve you of this young fellow your apprentice. You would not object to cancel his indentures at his request and for his good? You would want nothing for so doing?”
“Lord forbid that I should want anything for not standing in Pip’s way,” said Joe, staring.
“Lord forbidding is pious, but not to the purpose,” returned Mr. Jaggers. “The question is, Would you want anything? Do you want anything?”
“The answer is,” returned Joe, sternly, “No.”
I thought Mr. Jaggers glanced at Joe, as if he considered him a fool for his disinterestedness. But I was too much bewildered between breathless curiosity and surprise, to be sure of it.
“Very well,” said Mr. Jaggers. “Recollect the admission you have made, and don’t try to go from it presently.”
“Who’s a going to try?” retorted Joe. . . .
“Now, I return to this young fellow. And the communication I have got to make is, that he has Great Expectations.”
~Charles Dickens, from Great Expectations
Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
Chapter Eleven of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well examines the virtue of Kindness with examples drawn from George Saunders’ Tenth of December.
As Karen wrote
The connection between kindness and kinship helps make sense of the reason for envy being the vice that opposes kindness. Aquinas calls envy “sorrow for another’s good.” Unless the relationship is marred by some dysfunction, it is natural for us to celebrate a family member’s happiness or success. When something good happens to someone in our family, it is like it has happened to us. We share in that good rather than envy it. To seek and celebrate the good for others is then to treat them as family in this way. This is what it means to be kind.