A Good/Evil Struggle Connection

In class, we read the short story, “Escape from Spiderhead” by George Saunders. In this story, the main character Jeff has a constant inner struggle of whether or not Abnesti (the scientist conducting multiple drug experiments) is acting as good or evil. He constantly informs Jeff that what he is doing will benefit humanity and that he is someone that he can trust. He states, ” You know me, how many kids do I have?” and “do I remember birthdays around here? “(33) He also doesn’t swear, showing that ideally he is a good person. But Jeff sees first hand the effect these experiments have on others. He watches Heather, another participant die after being given Darkenfloxx. Jeff has a past of criminal activity, and has killed someone, and doesn’t want to see others killed in this experiment. He ends up commiting suicide because he doesn’t want to be associated with this kind of evil.

In my summer reading book ” Scythe” by Neal Shusterman, there is also a struggle of finding out who is good and who is evil. The book is about a society in the future where humans can live forever, and if they do “die”, they can be revived and can also set their ages back. In order to keep the population under control, Scythes are in charge of killing people permanently. There is an on going conflict in this book on whether or not the different Scythes are using their power effectively, and if they are killing or “gleaning” as they say in the book, in the right way. The main characters, scythe apprentices, Citra and Rowan are constantly conflicted on the right and wrong way of ending people’s lives. One scythe, goes on mass killing sprees, where another scouts out individuals that seem to have lost a lust for life. Citra and Rowan are both conflicted with the idea that what they are essentially doing could be considered evil, but are also benefiting humanity.

Both stories were interesting reads, and had interesting ideals about the struggle of good and evil. Essentially both indicate that no one can be truly good when it comes to ending people’s lives.

5 thoughts on “A Good/Evil Struggle Connection

  1. audrey s

    While I have never read Scythe, I think this is a very interesting connection to make. Abnseti tries to prove his “innocence” by talking about his family and how well he knows everyone in Spiderhead, and I completely agree with you when you say no one who kills can be truly good.


  2. Danielle W

    I had the same summer reading book, and I actually loved it so much that I finished the series. The theme seen in the first book of the series gets more complex with each book, as new ideas are introduced. I like the connection that you made between the two stories, in that they both question what truly defines good and evil. Reading your post made me think about that, and how much of a grey area there truly is between the two sides. Can we even identify an act as being one or the other, or is there good and evil in everything?


  3. Maggie Rose B

    I think this was a really interesting connection between these two pieces of writing. I think that the element of power in both Escape from Spiderhead and Scythe adds even more complexity to the struggle between good and evil. Abnesti has to decide whether to use his power, in a position of authority, for good or for evil, the same way that Citra and Rowan have to decide how to use their power in Scythe.


  4. LUKE L

    I read Scythe last year, and I really enjoyed the read and can definitely see the comparisons to spiderhead. Both offer a unique perspective on a present issue by describing a possible future, similar to Black Mirror.


  5. MIIKA F.

    Your connection between Saunders and Scythe in regards to good and evil is quite compelling. Though I have never read the book, the way you were able to draw such strong comparisons made me feel as though I had already read a couple chapters of the story. But to your consensus, it seems like trying to justify ending someone else’s life is a slippery slope to fall into. It’s definitely a reflection of our criminal justice system and how we regard death row.


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