Duddy hides his insecurities from himself and others. He is afraid to ask his father if his mother had liked him. What does t

Question #3: Duddy hides his insecurities from himself and others. He is afraid to ask his father if his mother had liked him. What does this reveal about Duddy? Why do we often hide our fears?

Two thousand years ago, Jesus had said,”Man does not live by bread alone.” This is true, for other than physiological needs, man also has other basic necessities. As outlined in an article written by Professor A. H. Maslow called “A Theory of Human Motivation”, these basic necessities include a person’s desire for security, love, esteem and self-actualization. Thus, when Duddy hides his fears from others and himself, he is only pursuing a sense of safety, which is one of the human fundamental needs.

A person’s self-projected image is very important. We often hide our own fears because we do not want to acknowledge our dreads. We are afraid that if we show our dreads, our images as great persons will be ruined. People want to feel important, significant and superior; people do not want to feel inferior, subordinate and insignificant. We are afraid that if we concede our fears, others will dismiss us as unimportant. This is even more true for an ambitious young man like Duddy. He springs from humble beginnings, but clearly, he is very eager to become a successful and powerful man. “…his bony cheeks were criss-crossed with scratches as he shaved twice daily in his attempt to encourage a beard.” This clearly indicates to the readers that Duddy wants and tries to be someone that he is not. He wants himself and others to think that he is of great significance. The fact that his friends, family and others reject him make his self-projected image even more preponderant. He must convince himself and others that he is a very important figure and he does this by denying his insecurities.

Duddy is not a very well-liked figure in the novel. He arouses readers’ sympathy because his family and friends do not appreciate him. There is much evidence of this throughout the novel. Perhaps the best illustration of this is when Duddy returns from St. Agathe with six expensive sport shirts for Max as a gift, but only to find out that his father is not interested in the gift. Duddy is not loved in his family, yet he needs love desperately. Since his father, uncle and brother do not love him, his desire for love is projected onto his dead mother. Everyone needs to love and needs to be loved, and it is very reasonable for Duddy to inquire about his mother. But Duddy does not dare to ask his father if his dead mother had liked him because if he exposes his sensitive nature, he will ruin the image that he has been trying to build up for himself. And what if his father tells him that his mother did not like him? He cannot take the risk of losing his image, only to find out that his mother had not liked him. He cannot let his fears be exposed either.

Other than hiding his fears, Duddy also keeps his image by crazily pursuing money. He does this because he does not want his family, friends and all the people around him to despise him. He tries desperately to be “somebody”. Jerry Dingleman, the Boy Wonder comments, “There’s something wrong. A mistake somewhere when a boy your age is already pursuing money like he had a hot poker up his ass.” But the truth is that Duddy is only following one of the human drives. He pursues money for the same reason as he hides his insecurities — to preserve his self-image and to make others think him worthy.

People are often very conscientious about their own images. This is why we curse acquaintances who slander us. We want people to think us great. Trying to be significant is simply one of the human drives. We try to cover all our weaknesses, all our faults and all our fears, because we want to impress others and we want them to think us great. If we say that we do not care what people think of us, we are only lying to ourselves. And Duddy is no different from an ordinary human being. He hides his fears because he must protect his own image. And all of us — perhaps to a lesser extent — is doing the exact same thing.