Have you ever noticed how the times have changed, and our society has become more and more selfish? I'm seeing this in books, as well, which reflects society.
If you remember back to 'Gone With The Wind,' for example, Scarlett was a very spoiled girl who only thought about herself and her needs. Rhett tells her no one cares, in the way only he can do it. But if that story played today, it'd be a joke that she thought only about herself and everyone would just ignore it. Rhett would be the bad guy, telling her no one cared.
Back in the 70s, when I was in high school (yes, I'm old), the 'thing' was to be altruistic. It was a good thing to want to go into an altruistic field, to care about the rest of the world. I remember the Peace Corps as being something kids wanted to do. Maybe that was just in my little world at the time, but I thought it was everywhere. After the turmoil of the 60s, there was still the 'peace, love, kindness' kick going around...at least where I lived. However, it was classified as the 'Me' generation, because people were into the 'feel good' craze.
Then came the 80s. I remember in 1979, a friend of mine had a necklace she wore all the time that said, 'Me' on it. She was very spoiled. Little did I know but the 80s were more the 'Me' generation in my environment than the 70s. Maybe it's because I lived in a very conservative area (Lancaster, PA), but I remember television portraying that as well. It was smart to become as rich as you could. It was smart to take care of yourself and be independent. Society changed from the 70s to the 80s. Music became more upbeat and positive, compared to the mellow tones of the 70s and the anti-everything sounds from the 60s.
As for narcissism, I think that started back in the 60s. You didn't hear of spoiled brats in the 50s like you do today. Why, you ask? I have a theory about that, that begins at childhood and how children are raised. It all goes back to the 'don't discipline children' and how we should build up their self-esteem.
I look at the selfishness and realize every character has to build on what's important in that society at the time of the writing. So in 100 years, society's going to change. Characters are going to change. Will people look back at the books of today and consider the characters spoiled? Will society change to be more hard-working, more caring, even more quiet?
Only time will tell, but it'll be an interesting view of society.
Have a great week!