Sacrificers are not the ones to pity. The ones to pity are those they sacrifice.

What did Elizabeth Bowen mean by:

Sacrificers are not the ones to pity. The ones to pity are those they sacrifice.


This quote, “Sacrificers are not the ones to pity. The ones to pity are those they sacrifice,” is a profound reflection on the nature of sacrifice and victimhood. It suggests that the individuals who make sacrifices should not be objects of pity because they exercise agency in their decision to sacrifice. They often do so for a greater good, a higher purpose, or out of love, which can be a source of strength and dignity. In contrast, those who are sacrificed, who are often the passive recipients of others’ decisions, are the ones who truly deserve our sympathy.

The quote also implies a critique of those who make sacrifices at the expense of others. It suggests that such sacrificial acts, far from being noble, can actually be a form of oppression. Those who are sacrificed may not have a say in the matter, and their suffering is imposed upon them by others. Therefore, they are the ones who truly deserve our compassion.

In today’s world, this quote can be seen as a commentary on various social, political, and economic issues. For instance, in a society that often glorifies self-sacrifice, it reminds us to pay attention to those who bear the brunt of these sacrifices. It could refer to the working class, who often have to sacrifice their time, health, and well-being for the profits of corporations. It could also refer to the marginalized groups who are often sacrificed for the sake of maintaining the status quo.

In terms of personal development, this quote can serve as a reminder to be mindful of the impact of our actions on others. While it’s important to be willing to make sacrifices for our goals and values, we should also consider who else might be affected by these sacrifices. Are we imposing undue burdens on others in our pursuit of success? Are we sacrificing others’ well-being for our own gain? If so, we may need to reassess our actions and strive for a more balanced and ethical approach.

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