Worldviews On Good And Evil In Louise Erdrich's The Round House

Decent Essays
We are all born with a God-given moral compass, but not everyone chooses to use it. Many people have differing opinions on good and evil in the world, but they are often misunderstood. In the book The Round House by Louise Erdrich, Father Travis and Linden Lark have different worldviews on good and evil, which influence protagonist, Joe Coutt’s, actions and the development of his sense of right and wrong. Throughout the book, Joe must learn difficult lessons regarding morality that will greatly affect his future, depending on what decision he makes: good or evil.
People are not born evil, evil is learned. When people like Joe have grown up with goodness surrounding them and suddenly experience evil, they begin to learn evil. Joe learned
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God can’t do that without taking away our moral freedom. Do you see?
No. But yeah.
The only thing that God can do, and does all of the time, is to draw good from any evil situation (Erdrich 253).
Joe didn’t really understand what his father was saying, because he was new to the experience of evil. He knew that killing people was wrong, but in his mind, there was nothing else that he could do to help his mother and make sure that his family stopped getting attacked. Joe saw that the only way that he could change the situation was to get rid of Linden Lark. Because he would only face the charges of a juvenile, and anyone else in his family would be tried as an adult, he volunteered to do it. If Joe hadn’t killed Linden, there might have been a good outcome. The court could have made him do community service or see a therapist to get better, but he didn’t have the chance before it was too late. Joe had good intentions in that he wanted to help his mother and protect his family, but the outcome was evil because he killed Linden.
Writing a wrong with a wrong doesn’t make it right. Joe thought that the court was wrong in not giving his mother justice, and although that was wrong, killing Linden was another wrong which did not help the situation, it made it worse. We have to study ourselves and learn that we cannot control every situation, and sometimes, things will get better with time. Father Travis said to Joe “‘In order to purify
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