Selfish Ambition In We Were Liars

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Dan Brown once said: “men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire”, encapsulating the tragic events of E.Lockhart’s novel We Were Liars. Human nature, defined as characteristics that are central to humanity, is profoundly explored through the events which triggered and resulted from the accident that deformed Beechwood Island. Through the character of Harris Sinclair, the domineering ‘King’ of the Sinclair family, alongside his daughters who are intoxicated on greed, E.Lockhart eludes that this trait is capable of great destruction to human nature. In addition, selfish ambition is explored through the characterisation of the Liars and their oblivious actions. Ultimately, guilt is depicted through the…show more content…
Although ambition can be constructive, it is adversely destructive when it is selfish. Selfish ambition is a criminal trait, a trait possessed by the Liars who were inadvertently perpetrators of their crime. Gat’s selfish ambition is encapsulated by Cadence’s description of him, labelling him as ‘ambition and strong coffee’. Due to being the ‘mouse’ in the Sinclair ‘castle’, Gat’s craving for acceptance from the Sinclairs caused him to blindly perpetrate his death and the Liars’. Equally, Cadence does not fall short of this trait. She was selfishly ambitious and ruthlessly determined to mend her broken family. Cadence comes to this realisation when she remarks “I have lost you, Gat, because of how desperately, desperately I fell in love” (p213). The word ‘selfishly’ appropriately substitutes ‘desperately’ as Cadence disregarded the string of consequences caused by her actions in an attempt to realise her unattainable reality. Moreover, Mirrens’ ambitions were also selfish. She was ‘jealous of [Cady] and mad at the rest of [her] family’ (p216), thus her vision was distorted by her determination and inflamed her reckless act of burning Clairmont. Consequently, Johnny who ‘was as committed to the things that mattered to him as anyone could possibly be’ (p211) transformed into a victim of selfish ambition when his commitment towards recuperating…show more content…
E.Lockhart has effectively intertwined greed, selfish ambition and guilt as the culprits of the accident which forever changed Beechwood Island and the Sinclairs. Therefore, it is unreasonable to say that the novel provides a bleak insight into human nature. Young adults seeking a thriller and an eye-opener will find this grappling novel a rapture of

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