Name Instructor Class 27 March 2012 The Psychological Victimization of Miss Lonelyhearts Some people find refuge in responding to letters that call for advice, but Miss Lonelyhearts is different, because like his letter senders, he is sick of his life. He is tired of these letters that define his employment status, and which for him, underscores the emptiness of life in general, and his life, specifically…
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This paper analyzes the psychological victimization of Miss Lonelyhearts. It argues that Miss Lonelyhearts is a victim of his society, relationships, and his own spiritual and emotional disintegration, and his psychology has become too nihilistic that he could no longer feel his humanity and find meaning in his existence. Society has victimized Miss Lonelyhearts through the capitalist labor system that treat people as means to corporate ends. Capitalism has numbed Miss Lonelyhearts and made him incapable of acknowledging and responding to human suffering (Scheurich and Mullen 572). He receives many letters that range from the mundane to the terribly appalling. One letter is from a vain girl with no nose, while the other confides that his mentally-ill sister has been raped, and he does know what to do. These letters, however, are not trivial for they represent a “great mass of suffering” that have interrelated social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions (Scheurich and Mullen 573). Particularly recurrent is the demand for material goods and physical attraction. Correspondents are concerned of their physical appearance to institutions or individuals that they regard as important. People are also complaining of getting more money and not feeling that they have enough wealth to satisfy their needs, as well as others, and so life has become a means of pursuing materialist existence. Capitalism is represented in this pursuit of superficial happiness that spans physical and material needs (Bromige 4). In addition, capitalism exists in the labor markets and its dynamics. Workers like Miss Lonelyhearts are trapped in jobs that are monotonous and exploitative, but they cannot easily find new ones for lack of better job opportunities. Furthermore, their managers treat them as means to corporate ends. Shrike uses Miss Lonelyhearts as an emotional punching bag. He also demeans correspondents, because their plight is not truly important to him. Shrike finds joy in using people and ensuring readership for his newspaper. Different social relationships also oppress Miss Lonelyhearts. Miss Lonelyhearts is a victim of a bully at the workplace. Because of his emotionally and spiritually exhausting job, he often feels unwell and looks for means to alleviate his inner turmoil. One time, after being sick and staying in his room for three days, Betty nudges him to leave his job. Miss Lonelyhearts admits that he took the job as a joke, but the joke no longer means anything to him. Pleas for advice force him to examine his own values and conditions, and he, too, has turned into “the victim of the joke” (Bromige 3). Shrike breaks into the room and mocks him to live at the South Seas: “I take your silence to mean that you have decided against the soil. I agree with you. Such a life is too dull and laborious. Let us now consider the South Seas” (West). The South Seas represent the expanse of opportunities that are paradoxically not available to Miss Lonelyhearts. He can only dream about his attempt to escape his world. Miss Lonelyhearts also victimizes his own identity by not resolving his inner conflicts. He uses Betty and other people to fill his emptiness. For instance, in a vacation, he spends time with Betty, but he does not feel better afterwards. The same feeling of
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