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.

Jeff’s Inner Conflict

“Basically, what I was feeling was: Every human is born of man and women. Every human, at birth, is, or at least has the potential to be, beloved of his/her mother/father. Thus every human is worthy of love.”- Jeff Pg 33

“I hated it. I’m a person. I have feelings. Still personal sadness aside, that was good. You did terrific overall. We all did terrific. Heather especially did terrific.”- Abnesti pg35

Jeff, a criminal, watching Heather going through the effects of the Darkenfloxx makes him feel that even though she has done horrible things in her past she is deserving of love. He sees the good that Abnesti is doing at that moment: that he is giving people that feel that they are not worthy of love, the love they deserve, with this new drug. But then it shifts, Jeff also sees the bad- that Abnesti is a monster for making Heather act this way and killing her. In that moment, Jeff is conflicted with Abnesti’s intentions. Throughout the story, Abnesti is constantly reasuring Jeff that he is a good person, but Jeff ultimately sees him differently, and commits suicide at the end. He doesn’t want to be associated with the act of killing anymore.