Greed and Materialism
Greed is whereby a person wants to have everything to him/herself. A materialistic person, on the other hand, is one who believes that money is more important than anything else in life. In the text, greed and materialism are evident in the Governor, the Fat Prince, Natella, the Mother-in-Law, the Corporal and others.
Georgi Abashwili is not satisfied with his riches. He is as rich as Croesus and yet he still wants to acquire more land by demolishing the houses of slum dwellers. While, many of the Governor’s people and their children are sleeping hungry, the Governor is preparing to have geese for dinner.
Natella is materialistic in the way she values her clothes and jewelry. She is not satisfied with what she has and still complains about her husband only building for his son (p.19). After her husband is arrested, she forgets about him and her baby and instead concentrates on ensuring that she carries all her clothes. In the end, she only bothers to look for Michael after she realizes that she needs him on order to inherit her husband’s estates.
The Fat Prince and the other princes organize to overthrow the Grand Duke and the Governor. This is purely out of greed for power. The Fat Prince is greedy over his brother’s wealth and power that he wants to take it by force. Because of greed for power, he plans to have one of his relatives as Judge too.
The Mother-in-Law is also seen to be greedy and materialistic. When Lavrenti goes to seek for a husband for his sister, the Mother-in-Law demands for four-hundred piasters. When she discovers that Grusha has a child, she demands another two-hundred. Instead of hiring a priest to conduct the wedding, the Mother-in-Law goes to look for a monk, who would be cheaper. She also complains about spending money to take care of the mourners.
Greed and materialism is also evident in the Old Man who demands three piasters from Grusha for milk. The Old Man does not care that the milk is for the baby and Grusha is forced to use her two week’s wages to buy it. When Grusha leaves Michael on the doorsteps of the Peasant Couple, the husband tells his wife not to feed the baby but instead to take it to the village priest. Even the Corporal is materialistic when he decides to sell their horses and walk instead when pursuing Grusha and Michael (p.33)
A society that is greedy and materialistic becomes morally bankrupt. Greed and materialism leads to other vices such as corruption, exploitation and selfishness. When people value money or property too much, they lose important human values such as generosity, kindness and love for one another.
Does greed / materialism make people in the society rich or poor?