How does the people's reaction to the aliens contribute to the theme of the story "The Wretched and the Beautiful"?

The people's reaction to the aliens in "The Wretched and the Beautiful" is self-centered and greedy, which contributes to the theme of selfishness in the story.

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In "The Wretched and the Beautiful," the narrator uses the reaction of the people to demonstrate the inherent selfishness of humans.

In this futuristic portrayal of Earth, humans have fairly decimated their own environment. The oceans are overfished and polluted, and there is hardly a beach left on the planet that is suitable for a vacation area. Thus, humans save enormous amounts of money to spend a day in one of these last remaining pristine environmental spaces.

When the aliens arrive, the humans are initially curious as they await the emergence of the creatures. Curiosity quickly gives way to self-centeredness when the aliens need minimal provisions. They ask simply for a place to sleep, noting that they are quite tired, and for a power source for their single translator. The hotels begin to complain about the lost revenue of incorporating these uninvited aliens into their guest list and question the safety to humans of allowing the aliens to take up a temporary residence.

Eventually, the responsibility is distributed worldwide, and the aliens are split up, despite their protests and their inability to communicate without using the single translator they brought with them. Their desires are dismissed, and they find themselves unwelcome additions to neighborhoods all over the world.

Humans begin to complain about the housing given to the aliens, wondering why these beings who have never benefited the economy of their communities are allowed nicer houses than those who have always lived there. Humans complain about the additional expenses they will incur as a result of having to feed these aliens and become angry about additional demands the aliens place on their already "scarce resources."

It's important to note that there are only sixty-four aliens who emerge from the ship, and many of these are juveniles. It's also important to note that the humans are willing to invest their economic resources into expensive vacations—as long as they personally benefit from their investments.

The humans begin to see these aliens as threatening, and erroneous reports begin to emerge and circulate about the aliens drinking the blood of dogs and human infants. The humans work themselves into a fury, demanding that the aliens return to their own solar system. Some of the aliens are the victims of hate crimes; one young juvenile is set on fire.

The humans in this story demonstrate incredible selfishness toward these beings who are in dire need of assistance. As they collectively complain about the "burden" of caring for those who ask for so little and whose actions are consistently peaceful toward humankind, the humans prove themselves greedy and callous. Their selfish actions are a reminder of the importance of aiding those who are less fortunate.

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