The Story of the Good and Bad Little Boy is a short story written by Mark Twain. I have read works written by Mark Twain before, and I enjoy his writing style. The story of a Good Little Boy and the story of a Bad Little Boy are actually two separate short stories that are kind of each other’s parallels. The edition I found has combined these stories together, so I read it as one story.
It’s a conventional belief all over the world that if you do good and be good, you will only get good things. This story shows how that isn’t always the case. Jacob, the good little boy, tries his hardest to behave according to the standard of the good he knows. He takes efforts and goes out of his way to help and make a difference in the community. But, in return, he has to deal with significant trouble. This makes him doubt the morals he has been abiding by.
Jim, on the other hand, is a rebellious kid. He doesn’t follow rules and does what he wants to do. Unlike Jacob, Jim gets away without getting into trouble even after breaking the rules. He feels proud of all the times he has been able to be mischievous and get away with it. This shows the clear contrast between these two boys. Jim is not exactly the opposite of Jacob, Jim is not evil by any means; he is mischievous and rebellious. Jacob follows the example of the stories in the Bible of what it means to be good and repents for his sins by asking for forgiveness. Jim enjoys his rule-breaking ways and doesn’t feel bad about it.
I think Jacob behaves a certain way because he is made aware of it from a young age. In school and Sunday school, he is taught a standard of moral behavior which he tries to imitate. Jim might not be aware of or feels aware of such things like Jacob does, so, he is like a free spirit. He does what he wants to do and doesn’t try to be anything else. Both the boys can’t be looked at as morally high. One disregards, and one just copies. It’s more about the societal changes, that were taking place at that time, with the Industrial Revolution leading to capitalism. It shows the changing ways of society with degradation in virtues and morals. I feel both the boys kind of represent it.
The Story of the Good and Bad Little Boy shows two contrasting stories of two young boys. Its narrative flows, and the pace is engaging. I liked reading this story, it was a short and interesting read.
*Click on the book cover above to get a copy.