Thanks for the link, Ms. WW.
Martyrdom is a subject I've written about
in a novel I wrote called "Joan of Quebec." Our society values martyrdom, and holds self-sacrifice as a high ideal. While the concept started as a religious one (Sir James Frazer in The Golden Bough
traces it back to the sacrifice and worship of kings/gods in pagan fertility rites), it has spread to become a secular one too. Often when we cry over a story (movie, book, play, etc.), it is because someone has become a martyr. Think Humphrey Bogart as Rick in Casablanca
, Sydney Carlton in A Tale of Two Cities
, Camille in La Traviata
, Jean Valjean or Fontine in Les Miserables
. Since we're raised to think of martyrdom as something glorious -- a quality to aspire to, I think there will always be those who milk it to achieve approbation from others and a sense of self worth.
There is a wonderful movie written by Paddy Chayefsky called The Americanization of Emily
starring James Garner and Julie Andrews that deals with this subject. In that case, with regard to war, rather than cancer.
Post Edited (Tall Allen) : 6/7/2013 1:39:03 PM (GMT-6)