Rajka Radakovi (RI-kah rah-DA-koh-vihch), a woman from Sarajevo. Rajka is the quintessential miser. Her miserliness derives from a sense of insecurity, which came about primarily from her father’s failure in business. Her father dies from grief, but not before advising his daughter to save at every step and to distrust people, because trusting people allows concern for others to govern one’s life, which, in turn, makes one dangerously vulnerable. Rajka’s bitter childhood experience stays with her all of her life. After taking over her father’s business, she makes sure never to allow others to take advantage of her. Moreover, she denies herself every pleasure and isolates herself from people, even relatives. Eventually, her thrift and avarice become an obsession and grow to monstrous proportions. The excessive egotism, selfishness, miserliness, and lack of normal human drives in the end ruin her, along with everyone with whom she associates. The author offers some plausible explanations for Rajka’s behavior. In addition to insecurity, a desire to avenge and redeem her father contributes heavily to her behavior. The remembrance of the past shapes her view of the world as basically evil, selfish, insensitive, and even cruel. Such a cruel world crushes soft and emotional people, like her father, but it bows before hard and resolute people, like herself. The only...
(The entire section is 544 words.)