The conflict between good and evil is universal to the human condition. It is a theme common to both history and literature. In 1866 Joseph Roux wrote, “Evil often triumphs, but never conquers”. In “Mercy Among the Children” by David Richards, the Henderson family suffers many injustices, and is exposed to “evil” in many forms. Roux’s statement can be analyzed through the examination of the characters, including the Henderson’s themselves and those who most deeply affect them.
If anyone personifies evil in this novel, it is Mat Pit. Raised in a poor and abusive environment (Richards 294), he and his sister Cynthia are driven by ambition with dreams of escaping the circumstances of their youth. Mat is a major cause of the persecution experienced by the Henderson family, including the robbery blamed on Elly (108), and the sabotage of the bridge /murder blamed on Sydney (108) . Mat and his sister are “… the new ruthless entrepreneurs. They would listen with almost stupefied inattention to the words ‘ethics’ and ‘moral responsibility’… But they also both knew… how to use friends, and how to give them up in a heartbeat” (99). Mat’s “ruthless” nature and his lack of any sense of “moral responsibility” make him a formidable enemy. There is no indication that he has any inner struggle with evil, apparently “conquered” from an early age.
Mat embraces evil amorally with little evidence of remorse or regret. Throughout the novel Mat shows no signs of any inner good “conquering” over his evil character. The bridge sabotage resulted in the death of his younger, handicapped brother Trenton, and by blaming others he is able to turn public sympathies so his family has a prominent position in the community (1...
... middle of paper ...
...ifices his “own welfare”, including his reputation. In Sydney evil has met his match.
The characters in “Mercy Among the Children” by David Richards, illustrate the inner struggle between good and evil. Many of the figures confirm the truth in Joseph Roux’s quote, “Evil often triumphs, but never conquers”. The Henderson family is gravely tested, and their situation would justify turning to the dark side. It is a tribute to the human spirit, that they resisted descending to the level of those who persecuted them. The darkest characters did not confirm the truth of Roux’s statement, but the overall tone of the novel leaves the reader with a sense of hope that people like Sydney Henderson can make the world a better place for us all.
Richards, David Adams. Mercy Among the Children. Toronto: Anchor Canada, 2000.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Bible portrays the story of the Devil’s fall from grace as an epic battle between good and evil. The devil faces off against God and the good angels, demanding that he be granted the same power as God. God cast down the Devil and all of his followers for turning away from him and willing for power they were not able to possess. In order to understand what it was that made the Devil turn away from God and what he willed for that was considered such a sin, I read Anslem’s On the Fall of the Devil to find out, not how the devil fell from grace, but why he fell from grace.... [tags: bible, god, devil's fall]
1643 words (4.7 pages)
- During the Anglo-Saxon age where good and evil clashed in battle, there was a brave hero named Beowulf who fought many battles and who led monsters to their doom. With fate and strength by his side nothing could stop him. There were two kingdoms in this story that were overcome by evil. The People tried to fight back but it was no match for such an evil. The attitudes and actions between various monsters and humans show that Beowulf is a story comprised of battles fating good against evil. The evil Grendel is killing the people of Hrothgar, and the strength of their kingdom is not enough to stop him.... [tags: monster, revenge, bravery]
539 words (1.5 pages)
- "We're all so busy chasing the extraordinary that we forget to stop and be grateful for the ordinary" (Brown 152). Novels are sources of magic, written with such delicacy and intricacy that they often leave the reader astounded by the power of words. The plot, concept, and language are so extraordinary that human eyes easily bypass the most ordinary objects of all in the story, ones that can only be read between the lines in order to reveal truly deep meanings. The connection to William Golding's prize-winning novel Lord of the Flies is undeniable.... [tags: lord of the flies, william golding]
966 words (2.8 pages)
- The Balance Between Good and Evil The Balance Between Good and Evil William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is an author’s painting of the evil that resides in all of the human race. The tropical island setting presents an environment free from civil order introducing a battle ground for the war of good and evil. Showing different side of human nature one can ponder the question “What would I do?” Golding explains the good, bad and balance of human nature, revealing that in times of despair man can easily regress to a primitive state, le... [tags: essays research papers fc]
1139 words (3.3 pages)
- Battle of Good and Evil in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne In modern times battles are fought everyday, but in the end, it is only the outcome of the wars that count. Sometimes the good guys win and sometimes the bad guys win, but in literature, it is different. "In literature, Evil wins the battles, but Good wins the wars." says Henry Gaedon. This is particularly evident in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter where Good is portrayed by Hester Prynne and Evil by Roger Chillingworth.... [tags: Papers]
451 words (1.3 pages)
- The dilemma between good and evil began long before our time, and it’s been chronicled since man could write. Stephen King, one of the controversial writers of our time, brings his characters to life by giving them peculiar attributes, individual and bold attitudes, and places them in unusual predicaments. The Gunslinger series by Stephen King is a sequence of books that show the internal struggle between good and evil. His character are presented with obstacles, and readers observe how each one responds to the challenges presented to them, waiting to see how far they will go to achieve what they believe is the greater good.... [tags: essays research papers]
1290 words (3.7 pages)
- Young Goodman Brown is a holy man, with a repressed wish inside of him to explore the unknown. This wish came to him through a dream and changed the rest of his life dramatically. The story "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne shows us the possible outcomes of Young Goodman Brown's decision to explore into the forest to find the unknown. Hawthorne also uses symbols in the story to represent good and evil. It is a story about a man whose true identity prevailed and destroys him from the inside out.... [tags: Free Essay Writer]
491 words (1.4 pages)
- Throughout history elders, bards, and writers have used the struggle between good and evil as a basis for their tall tales. This struggle makes for a good story because it provides tension, plot, climax, and usually a good ending. It also shows the many different types of good and evil. These ideas are not always snow white and pitch black, and often originate from various places in the story. Regardless of the source, the epic Beowulf has representation of both good and evil throughout its pages.... [tags: revenge, death, battle]
581 words (1.7 pages)
- In this essay I will look at the ways that Shakespeare has contrasted evil with good in his play Macbeth. The play revolves around the bad and wicked qualities in human nature, but Shakespeare also contrasts this evil with the power of good. This contrast between good and evil is a recurring theme throughout Macbeth. These contradictions start in the very beginning of the play, with the witches. In Act one, Scene one, line 12, the witches say, “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” This is interesting as they are suggesting good and evil as being one.... [tags: evil, good, macbeth, shakespeare,]
1653 words (4.7 pages)
- Beowulf, one of the oldest long poems, is an Old English epic written by an unknown poet. The poet was trying to capture the heroic language and style of ancient Germanic poetry. He was a Christian and presented that throughout the poem, which the reader can tell reflects Christian tradition. Beowulf can be considered a very simple epic in many people’s view point. The whole plot is mostly focused on a courageous and mighty warrior that battles against demons and evil things lurking amongst the townspeople.... [tags: Beowulf, Good and evil]
865 words (2.5 pages)