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The nature of evil - Essay Example

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Subject: Date: Topic: The Nature of Evil Charles Johnson provides a dramatic beginning to his novel, “Middle Passage.” He writes, “Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I’ve come to learn, is women.” (1) The woman is described as the ultimate evil, as described by the author relating to the challenges encountered by the freed slave Rutherford Calhoun…
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Download file to see previous pages Both Isadora and my creditors, I should add, who entered into a conspiracy, a trap, a scheme so cunning that my only choices were prison or marriage, which for a man of my temperament, worse than imprisonment—especially if you knew Isadora.”(1) One evil influence leads to the other. Evil sets off a chain-reaction. Rutherford Calhoun candidly admits, “But arriving in the city, checking the saloons and Negro bars, I found nothing. So I stole—it came as second nature to me.”(2-3) It goes to substantiate that no one is born with evil tendencies. One inherits them due to the circumstances one is compelled to encounter. When a man or woman is neglected and when obstructions are created by the society in the efforts for reformation and rehabilitation, one turns cynical. Helping one to build a new identity is an arduous process that has both economic and spiritual perspectives. Reeling out moral lessons and spiritual revelations will not help an individual from the downward march to destruction. Calhoun is exposed to religious disciplines. He admits, “My Master, Reverend Peleg Chandler…..he endlessly preached Old Testament virtues to me….the evils of nominalism….”(3) But the desired change in the personality of Calhoun is not forthcoming as the impact of the evil influences is strong and nobility fails to beat it. Both nobility (good) and evil forces are inherent in a man; they are the pairs of opposites and to strike the proper balance is the issue related to life. No one is permanently good or permanently bad. The process of becoming, to a great extent, depends on how one is raised and later on lives life. The childhood creates the structure for the adulthood and for the entire course of life. In case of Calhoun, the childhood is bad and he has to undergo bitter experiences of deceit from all ends and at that stage of life he has no one to hold on. So, hatred for the society is welling up from deep within and he has no choices to challenge them. Hatred is ugly and dark and it goes hand in hand with all sorts of evil. Bitter experiences in life one after another, go to solidify the state of evil in the heart of Calhoun. But no one is inherently evil. Evil is just the coating, and often the coating is thick. On a number of occasions, evil deeds are a mechanism of self-defense. When faced with danger, human beings mostly exhibit a “fight or flight,” response. Try to escape or defend aggressively. Calhoun precisely does the same. The ship in which he is employed according to Calhoun is “a process of life.”(36) The ship is the metaphor for the various stages and experiences of life. He faces the twin dangers, one from the woman and the other from his creditors, for which he has no immediate solutions, he avails the option of escape from the evil forces that are pursuing him. Unquestionably the slavery in the 19th century American society was an evil practice of the worst order and it owed responsibility for the creation of a combustible generation of blacks. Its impact has not been eradicated even with the present generation. The author does not think that evil is inherent in man, woman or evil originates in greed, misunderstanding/competition in segregation. Evil is integrated and it sets off a chain reaction through all these segments of society/factors. They are all interrelated and no factor ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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