When I was a child, comparing the behaviour of two people in my circle was formative. One would turn out to help in any situation, from raking dirt on the local school oval in a working bee to stopping the car late at night to check on an old man hanging over the rail at a city tram stop. He never talked much about these actions, nor dramatised the recipients’ needs, beyond saying, if asked, that it was the ‘right thing to do’. The other person would become so upset by other people’s troubles, and feel their pain so intensely, that she would end up a teary, hand-wringing mess and require calming herself, taking away attention and care from the person in need.
Bystanders and helpers
If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.
Miriam Cosic is a Sydney-based journalist and critic. She is the author of two books.
By this contributor
- Miriam Cosic reviews 'The Unwomanly Face of War' by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
- Miriam Cosic reviews 'On the Java Ridge' by Jock Serong
- Miriam Cosic reviews 'A Perfidious Distortion of History: The Versailles Peace Treaty and the success of the Nazis' by Jürgen Tampke
Leave a comment
Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.
NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to email@example.com. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.