for the sake of others so as to achieve a higher-order common good may well seem like a virtually unattainable ideal.
Whereas the drama of desire and self-renunciation in "Heritage" is figured as a split within the one body of the narrator, in "The Black Christ" these are divided into various characters: the mother who becomes the feminine figure of Christian patience and forbearance; the white mobs who embody the threats that remain mostly felt but not seen in "Heritage"; the rebellious brother Jim who represents both sexual desire and to some degree the inspiring spirit of lyric poetry; and, of course, the narrator, who in the end represents nothing so much as the poetics of self-renunciation.
Thus we already know before things get started what the appropriate mode of masculine behavior is to be: that of repentance and self-renunciation.
Although Cullen attaches a sexual metaphor to the mother's words, the mating that occurs is of "soft words" and words that call for self-renunciation and the deferral of desire: "love, trust, and wait.
Just as "Heritage" concludes with an imperative to self-renunciation that rejects all that had made that poem most interesting, Cullen resurrects a Jim divested of all that had made him a desirable and powerful character in the first place.
Algebraists and social scientists, rather than seeing the passage analogically as an illustration of entsagen or self-renunciation
, could easily appropriate it in their attempts to quantify happiness and pleasure.
While "civilization" was attached to male behavior, "mother," "wife," and "woman" served as a representation of a set of socially constructed behaviors attached to females that translated vaguely into an assortment of attributes that included passivity, frailty, modesty, patience, loyalty, acceptance, and self-renunciation
But insistent individualism can be toxic, with the sad outcome that self-promotion and self-protection regularly turn out to be self-renunciation
, thus impoverishing the self rather than enriching it.
The third major area of similarity between these two works concerns the end of the Temptation in the Wilderness, Self-Renunciation, and the achievement of Manhood.
While Henry Fleming has not yet achieved self-renunciation, he is able to see that his friend Wilson has done so.
Diogenes, as he looks again at the world after achieving self-renunciation sees the people around him differently.
Perhaps it is a case like that of Carlyle and John Stuart Mill arriving independently, as Mill indicates in his Autobiography, at the same conclusions of the necessity for self-renunciation.
Hans Kung, "God's Self-Renunciation
and Buddhist Emptiness: A Christian Response to Masao Abe," in Divine Emptiness and Historical Fullness, 213.