Moral of the Story: Morality and Literature

Moral of the Story: Books About War

I’ve been reading a lot of books about war lately. And even the ones that haven’t been about war, have still included death. It’s been pretty gloomy, but I’ll try not to bring the mood down too low in this post!

I just wanted to highlight two books, and an interesting difference/similarity I observed between them.

1. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway. Read more about Moral of the Story: Books About War

Moral of the Story: Morality and Literature: The Luminaries

There are 12 main characters in the story, who are all somehow implicated in the mysterious events. When each of these characters is introduced, the author provides descriptions of their personalities, their strengths and weaknesses, and their moral worldviews. In fact, my favorite part of this novel was when a new character was introduced and we got an account of their rigid deontology or their moral subjectivism Read more about Moral of the Story: Morality and Literature: The Luminaries

The Moral of the Story: The Signature of All Things

The Moral of the Story: Morality and Literature

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Set at the turn of the 19th Century, this novel focuses on Alma, a bright girl with an unusual upbringing and an unwillingness to conform to the norms of 1800’s puritanical America.

As a female, she should have been doing needlework and seeing to the affairs of the home; but she instead chose to study botany, became a published expert in mosses, in addition to her sexual curiosity and awakening. Read more about The Moral of the Story: The Signature of All Things

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

But deeper than that, this is a novel about suffering and about surviving, about bending your moral code until it fits your actions. And once you strip away the violence and degradation, it somehow transforms into a story about the goodness of humanity. Read more about The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Moral of the Story: Morality in Literature - Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

This is a novel about intense friendship, forbidden love, and inner conflict. It pits loyalty and duty against desire and passion, which can be seen in each of the character’s attempts to find happiness or their own version of Utopia. Read more about Moral of the Story: Morality in Literature - Brideshead Revisited

Moral of the Story: Morality in Literature - Burial Rites

Moral of the Story: Morality and Literature

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Kent’s debut novel is set in 19th Century Iceland and tells the true story of a servant woman, Agnes Magnusdottir, who was convicted of murdering her master and condemned to beheading. This intriguing piece of historical fiction poses questions about condemnation, retribution, and guilt. Read more about Moral of the Story: Morality in Literature - Burial Rites

The Old Man and the Sea

The Moral of the Story: Morality and Literature

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

From having just finished Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, I can see many of the characteristics that Hemingway himself values in the character of the Old Man. He displays the virtues of honor, bravery, determination and struggles with the vice of pride. The main theme in the novella is one of struggle or hardship – “man can be destroyed but not defeated”. Read more about The Old Man and the Sea

The Moral of the Story: The Heart Broke In

If you are selected to be exposed, you will receive a call from the Moral Foundation and be assigned a revelation date. If you can provide some juicy gossip about a friend or family member, you will receive 20 years immunity from the website’s moral and public condemnation. The tagline on the back of the book reads, “Would you betray someone you love to give them [The Moral Foundation] what they want?” Read more about The Moral of the Story: The Heart Broke In

Moral of the Story: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Since the movie has just been released, I am sure others like me have dug up their high school copy, brushed it off, and delved right back in. F. Scott’s masterpiece is quite a tragic story about the futility of hope and the superficiality of materialism: beautifully grim. The characters are selfish, cruel, and difficult to like, but the symbolism (the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg, the green light across the lake) and the social commentary are what bring this story to life. Read more about Moral of the Story: The Great Gatsby

Moral of the Story: Morality in Literature - Gone Girl

This novel had me asking the question: Do the immoral believe that listening to your conscience or adhering to a sense of morality are signs of weakness? Amy accuses women who don’t retaliate when injured as “…spineless women confusing their weakness for morality”. So, when we commit an immoral act in vengeance, do we celebrate the fact that we have overcome some kind of weakness? Do we lament the lost opportunity when we decide to do the morally right thing? Read more about Moral of the Story: Morality in Literature - Gone Girl

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