Essay on Battle Between Good and Evil

Essay on Battle Between Good and Evil

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The Battle Between Good and Evil
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...

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...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.

Works Cited

Richards, David Adams. Mercy Among the Children. Toronto: Anchor Canada, 2000.

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