The Rich Brother is a story concerning the two brothers, Pete and Donald, who live completely contrasting lives. Pete is very rich and has all the qualities of a good life. He has easy access to the resources of an average American family. On the other hand, Donald is poor and lives a simple life. He lives alone in an ashram in Berkeley, painting houses and always indebted to his brother. This essay is a well researched analysis of the dominant characteristics in Donald. Considerable attention has been paid to the effects of Donald’s dominant trait in relation to their effects on success, failures, desires, and his actions at large.
Donald is a spiritual man and is extremely obsessed with the fate of his soul. The spirituality displayed by Donald has been evident through the entire story. It has also taken a sharp effect on his personal life and contributed greatly to the failures and successes he encounters. To a great extent, his spiritualism makes him the richer of the two brothers. This is because he is carefree, spiritual and trusting. It is Donald’s spiritualism, which shapes the way, in which he perceives wealth and worldly pleasures. He clearly shows his negative sentiments about his brother’s poor devotion to the God. The spirituality that is abundantly present in Donald is a vital trait that Pete lacks. He disregards spiritualism and openly pays more; Donald, Pete’s brother, is characterized by his obsession with the fate of his soul. He was in complete rejection of the fact that his parents, who had died, had never felt the necessity to believe in anything, and that his older brother, Pete, had taken over the same concept. He was always in worry about his own soul and the soul of others, especially of his brother, who in the beginning of the story asks himself thoughts of judgment, “Brother, what have you come to?” Donald’s rejection to this pagan nature and the fear of his soul’s fate makes him turn to the spiritual life as we see in the story; he joins an ashram in Berkeley but almost dies of an undiagnosed hepatitis. He also becomes a Christian drifting from church to church, where he gets so spiritual; Donald could not stand the thought of not belonging to a dominion of worship at any single time. At the beginning of the story we see that Donald joins an ashram in Berkeley; unfortunately, he almost ends up dead due to a condition of undiagnosed hepatitis. While his brother is finishing up paying his medical bills, from the illness he had suffered, we find out that Donald has already turned into becoming a Christian, drifting from church too church.
The Christian and spiritual nature, in subjective statement, involves individuals indulging in reserved behaviors, unwilling to adapt to the new activities, and sticking to cocooned thoughts and beliefs. Donald is a good example of such an individual. In the story, we see that Donald’s older brother, Pete, takes up numerous activities. At forty, Pete takes up skydiving and finds the experience “mystical”, as described in the story. On the other hand, Donald lives a patterned and monotonous life, finding Pete’s endeavors not quite amusing, and worse, on finding out how much it had cost Pete to skydive, which made him act appalled.
Being a Christian, Donald is full of hope for a better tomorrow, always living carefree, as a bird. This renders him quite vulnerable to peoples’ thoughts and lies. He falls as a particular victim to a passerby, who introduces himself as Webster, who discloses to Donald and Pete, while they were journeying together to Santa Cruz, about a gold mine that he was going to work on in Peru. He offered shares to the prospective investors, who would be rewarded a thousand fold from the benefits. Donald sees this as an opportunity and hopes to make an investment in Webster’s business. He gives Webster one hundred dollars as an investment to his project. Pete, on the other hand, sees this as a way of swindling money from people. Pete is outraged, when he finds out that Donald had given Webster one hundred dollars, because he knew that Donald had just been duped by a total stranger.
Spirituality advocates for the acts of humility and obedience. One cannot be a Christian with these virtues, and Donald portrays these virtues to the book. In the story, Donald, by mistake, spills orange juice on his brother’s car seat. Pete commands him to wipe it off with the shirt he had put in. Even though Donald pulled a long face, he obeyed to the demand of his brother and continued to wipe it off with his shirt. He also shows acts of humility by being considerate to his brother. He tells Pete, when he had joined the farm outside Paso Robles, that he was praying for him and the rest of Pete’s brothers and sisters on the farm., despite the fact that his brother tried to kill him a couple of times, when they were younger.
Donald’s spirituality has a magnificent impact on his view and opinion towards life. He is God fearing and would like to win his brother’s soul into his religion. This appears very clearly, when the two are riding in a car having a conversation between them. This conversation shows his spiritualism, and at the same time, the secular lifestyle that his brother has. Throughout his life, Donald is mainly concerned about solving the people’s inner problems. These are the problems that everyone experiences regardless of their financial status. The spiritualism of Donald makes the readers to clearly understand the loneliness that Pete suffers from. Pete tries to fool himself that he has been doing good alone, but the truth is that he has been instinctively trying to turn around and pick his young brother.
On page 256, Donald depicts his spiritualism once more by his image together with his backwards shirt saying “Try God”. Although Donald tried religion the wrong way and ended up the way he started, the effects of spiritualism in his life are almost inevitable. His desires are always dominated by spiritualism. This appears clearly because Donald seems to recognize that his brother’s goodwill and compassion can help him, if he happens to utilize them in a correct way. Donald’s spiritualism makes him to have a compassionate character. His compassion contributes to his failure to some extent. For example, he was easily cheated by the Webster, the character, who told them a mystic story of his own dream that was involving Goldmine and greed. In fact, he was made to give out the 100$ that his brother Pete has given him. Donald fails to take responsibility and move on with his own life. This saddening action occurs because he is so much into spirituality than into hard work to improve his life quality (Daniel & Patricia 256).
In conclusion, the spiritualism that Donald depicts in the short story can explain the reason he is not as cynic as his brother is. For this reason, he is easily taken advantage of. The actions observed in Donald’s past, and the attitudes that he projects during his interactions with his brother and other people, are inspired by spiritualism and values closely related to spiritualism. Therefore, it is indisputably vivid that Donald’s spiritualism plays a big role in shaping the encounters he experiences during his lifetime.