In "The Address" by Marga Minco, are human values often sacrificed for material gains?

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Plenty of stories do clearly illustrate our human tendency to sacrifice values for the sake of material gains, "The Devil and Tom Walker" probably being the best example of these.

But in the context of Minco's story "The Address," this may or may not be the case.

If we look in the story for any person who sacrifices her values for the sake of material gain, we can only turn to Mrs. Dorling, who definitely took the valuable items from the narrator's home on the pretense of keeping them safe until after the war; Mrs. Dorling then refused to acknowledge the narrator when she showed up, presumably to claim the items.

But did she sacrifice her values for material gains?

Sure, you could argue that. You could say that, for the sake of vases, and silver, and fancy antique plates, and crockery, Mrs. Dorling lied to the narrator's mother and selfishly kept all the items. She displays greed, deception, pettiness. For the sake of some fancy and useful goods, she foregoes honesty and a potentially valuable friendship. She even takes advantage of Mrs. S’s trust.

But on the other hand, you could argue that Mrs. Dorling's behavior is reasonable or at least forgivable. It was a time of war, and she was probably afraid for her safety and the safety of her family. Securing those beautiful items and squirreling them away was probably the thing that she clung to in order to stay sane during the turmoil. Given that the narrator decides after all that the items don't matter too much, it's even easier to excuse Mrs. Dorling's actions. Keep in mind that the sin in question is just theft. It's not murder.

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