Critical Lens Essay Somebody once said, “In literature, evil often triumphs but never conquers”. Both The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and The Color Purple by Alice Walker prove this quote true. Throughout The Lovely Bones, a family struggles with the dreadful murder and rape of a family member. The book demonstrates how the family only got stronger with the passage of time. Their success in moving forward in life regardless of their encounter with such an evil act emphasizes the victory of good over evil.
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In addition to The Lovely Bones, the book The Color Purple clearly displays the brutality two sisters must constantly face by being physically and sexually abused by their father. The quote is verified as truth in this book as well because concluding the book, the two sisters endure the malicious doings and not only survive, but they defeat their obstacles and end up independent and free women. In the novel The Lovely Bones, there is an essence that evil triumphs over good, but it doesn’t conquer the entire novel. Mr. Harvey directly embodies the evil nature that follows rape and murder.
On the other hand, Susie exemplifies good and innocence. With the act of Susie’s rape and murder committed by Mr. Harvey, it seems as if evil overpowered the force of good. In reality, good remained strong throughout the book because love kept Susie’s spirit alive and well. Susie’s family suffered a terrible loss when Susie died. Their ability to persevere in life and have the ability to move on after experiencing a tragedy, like losing a family member, emphasizes the strength of good can overcome even the obstacles of evil. “I watched my beautiful sister running and I knew she was not running away from me or toward me.
Like someone who has survived a gut-shot, the wound had been closing, closing, braiding into a scar for eight long years. ” (p. 242) This quote describes the battle Susie’s sister has been struggling with for a long period of time, but it also demonstrates Lindsey as a representation of good conquering the horrific aftermath of a tragedy. In the end, Mr. Harvey is ironically killed by an icicle, which concludes a sad ending for his symbolism of evil. “How to commit the perfect murder was an old game in heaven. I always chose the icicle because the weapon melts away. ” (p. 25) Therefore with the death of George Harvey and the perseverance of the Salmon family, evil most definitely did not conquer. It merely triumphed briefly. “These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections – sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent – that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life. (P. 320) An additional novel that proves the quote true is The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This book is truly centered on the darkness of sexual abuse and the immorality of a man oppressing the will of females. This novel demonstrates the evil of black male patriarchy. Mr. Blank is the father of two young girls, Celie and Nettie, which he basically uses for his own disturbing desires. Not only does he try to sexually control them, but also he dehumanizes them by his mistreatment. Being merely children, he forces himself onto them very aggressively.
Their daily experience is described by this quote: “ he start to choke me, saying you better shut up and get use to it. But I don’t ever get use to it. And know I feels sick every time I be the one to cook. ” He also orders Celie around like a slave and threatens her into submission. Mr. Blank has also dedicated himself to draining every inch of self-confidence Celie has, which he uses to keep her weak. “Well next time you come look at her. She ugly. Don’t even look like she kin to Nettie. But she’ll make a better wife. She aint smart either, and I’ll just be fair, you have to watch her or she’ll give away everything you own.
But she can work like a man. ” Mr. Blank takes away their freedom as women to do as they wish and strive for success in life. He condemns them to a life of terror and abuse. Mr. Blank’s evil doings triumph for a long period of time until, one of the girls runs away. Nettie asserts her life as independent and searches for happiness and liberty. As for the other sister, she gradually learns her self-value from the female influences around her. One of the inspiring female characters in the book is Sophie who is a strong woman who doesn’t let men overpower her. She says, “I loves Harpo, God Knows I do. But I’ll kill him before I let him beat me. There comes a point in the book where Celie finally puts an end to Mr. Blank’s reign over her. Celie grows more powerful as she gets older until she finally frees herself from him. In the end the sisterly bond between Celie and Nettie gave them the strength to conquer their past and make a new and better future for themselves. Evil may have overwhelmed most of the lives of both Celie and Nettie, but the essence of good concluded the book, with peace and acceptance with each other. The relationship between Mr. Blank and Celie changed dramatically because they grew closer and came to find comfort with each other. Mr.
Blank describes Celie as somebody he enjoys talking to near the end of the book. “Took me long enough to notice you such good company, he say. And he laughs. ” Then Celie replies “He aint Shug, but he begin to be somebody I can talk to. ” Ultimately the quote “In literature, evil often triumphs, but never conquers” is truly evident in both pieces of literature, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and The Color Purple by Alice Walker. In both novels, the essence of evil is present in different ways. In The Lovely Bones, a murderer rapes and kills a young girl, which represents the presence of evil taking over the force of good.
Through the course of the novel, the essence of evil diminishes as love and tenderness pervade the Salmon household. Their drive to keep Susie in their hearts, allow them to progress in life and overcome such a dark event. In The Color Purple, the malicious father of two young girls, rape and abuse them. His evil doings are extremely malevolent. Although evil seems to be victorious in overpowering the success of Celie and Nettie in prevailing as the symbols of good, in the end, Celie and Nettie find their freedom and peace, from their malevolent father, which in return proves the overall victory of good versus evil.