This month’s TCWT blog chain prompt was:
“What is something you feel is generally written well in fiction?What is something you feel is generally written poorly?”
I’m going to focus on just the first part, what I feel is generally written well.
Warning: Spoilers will be given for Light of Eidon and Lord of the Flies
So when I was first given the 9th as my date, I was confident that it would be quite simple to write about. However, as the days passed and I started to truly think on the topic of what I was supposed to write, I was a little scared. This kind of post was outside my comfort zone; I didn’t get to pick the topic myself, and I didn’t know what to write.
Then I asked myself Is there anything in a few books you’ve read recently that you really enjoyed? Didn’t like?
I thought about this a while. I was grasping at straws. I was coming up with nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I was kinda starting to panic, because I had two days to write it and edit and I still had no idea whatsoever what I wanted to write, and I knew I’d be getting homework assigned soon, so i wouldn’t have much time.
Then I thought back to one of my favourite books of all time (see description here), Light of Eidon by Karen Hancock. It’s pretty much centered around this huge battle between good and evil or light and dark if you will. All of a sudden, all these examples popped into my head of books wherein take place good and evil. Most, if not all fiction is centered around one thing: conflict. And what is conflict? Here is Dictionary.com’s definition:
This conflict is found everywhere, not just in literature. From The Creation of Adam to The Hunger Games to Julius Caesar, it is visible in any aspect of our society. But today, I’m going to look at the aforementioned Light of Eidon.
In this book, the battle is fought against good and evil on both the physical and spiritual planes. The main character, Abramm Kalladorne, a prince who has given up his titles and inheritance to join a religious order, is sold into slavery by his power-hungry brothers. He is put into the Games, gladiator-like fights, and is forced to fight for his life. He escapes, and goes to a canyon-ous landscape, where he is instrumental in delaying the dark forces, and he fights the emperor of the dark country.
Abramm, representing the force of good, has to fight against physical and spiritual manifestations of evil throughout the entire book, from a false religion that seeks to ensnare him in its clutches and demonic possession, as well as “shadowspawn” physical manifestations of evil spawned by the evil desires of man who inject people with spore that can make them sick.
Abramm’s entire journey and character arc is based on his transition from the false religion, which served the same god in name only, truly it was something altogether different, to the true one, and overcoming his preconceived notions about said religion. He warms to it, then jerks back, horrified with himself for what he’s doing, because he’d been taught all his life that the followers of that religion were heretics, and they tortured people like nobody’s business.
Both the forces of light and dark are grappling to pull him over to their side, as he is to play a very important role in the future of all the countries surrounding them.
Another, more well-known example of the struggle between light and dark, good and evil is William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. For those of you who don’t know it, it’s about a group of English schoolboys who are sent away from England because it wasn’t safe anymore, as they were experiencing Golding’s WWIII. Their plane crashes on an idyllic island, and it all seems like a great adventure. But they soon struggle to fight against the “beast”, later named the Lord of the Flies, which is the evil and savagery that is inside each and every person.
The beast is, in this book, the dark side. The boys all fight it at first, following Ralph and Piggy, the last remainders of civilization on the island. When Jack and his hunters drift off, however, they give themselves over slowly to the beast, to the dark and savage impulses that lie in each and every one of us. What Ralph and Piggy, represent, civilization and rational thought, suppresses the beast. But when the boys are freed from the civilization, the beast is unchained, and out comes the savagery.
Ralph stays the “good guy” throughout the entire book, pretty much just sticking to laws and common sense and rationality. The beginning of the book sees him calling the other boys out from the jungle to the beach, pulling them out of the shadows into the daylight. The end of the book finds him running for his life, the boys who have given into their savage impulses are chasing him, smoking him out of the jungle to the beach where they can kill him and stick his head on a stick like they did with the sow’s head.
So to overview, in this book the dark side (savagery(beast), Jack) clashes with the light side (civilization/rational thought, Ralph). And, considering it’s a classic, it has achieved more than a superficial fight between two groups of boys; it has shown us what human nature can do when let loose of all constraints.
*Lord of the Flies analysis based on the analysis from Litcharts.com
Though these are just two examples and I’m not the best explainer ever, I hope you understand what I mean. Light and dark or good and evil are very prevalent forces in almost any story you can find, whether it’s written or drawn or painted or told. It is a deciding element wherever it is present.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed this. Don’t forget to read the other posts of this month’s TCWT blog chain.
Blog posts in January:
7 http://erinkenobi2893.wordpress.com/ and http://nasrielsfanfics.wordpress.com/
9 https://ramblingsofaravis.wordpress.com/ (You are here)