Change Of Heart Essay

871 words - 3 pages

A Change of Heart "The Rat Trap" written by Selma Lagerlof is a short story about an old disheartened beggar and thief who is taken in and shown generosity by a young woman, her kindness changes his bitter attitude about life. The peddler is a man who has fallen upon misfortune and now resorts to selling rattraps, begging, and thievery. He is very pessimistic about the world around him and sees the world as merely a "rat trap". He believes that society tempts us with riches and fine things, and when we accept, we are caught in the trap and are left with nothing. His theory arises from the fact that he was caught in the rattrap, he once was wealthy in both money and loved ones, and then he was stripped of his riches and was reduced to a homeless beggar. One night, after stealing money from an old man that gave him shelter, he is taken in by a man and his daughter who mistake him for a respected captain. They treat him esteemed guest but when they discover that he has lied and is actually a thief; the young woman still bestows kindness and respect. Only when he is shown true compassion does the beggar witness the humanity in people that he was unaware of earlier. The world is not a rattrap, not everybody will rebuff him once a relationship is formed. By the end of the story, the rat trap peddler has a change of heart, therefore gaining a new perspective about the world around him, gratitude and consideration for others. At the beginning of "The Rat Trap," the peddler was deeply miserable leading tedious life, his misery led him to believe that the world was a cold, uncaring place, however after experiencing Ms. Willamansson's compassion, his view of the world is changed. He believed that his world was a big rat trap, and it tempted people with happiness and money. If they took the bait, the trap would close and the happiness would end. He took life for granted and did not see or want any pleasure in his life because he was afraid it would be taken away again just as his wealth, family, friends and status were taken from him. The peddler was treated warmly by few people, the old man and Ms. Willmannsson, however the turning point in his views towards the world come after Ms. Willmannsson respects him regardless of his position in life. Ms. Willmannson represents the kind of person, a rich,...

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