When my children were small I read a childrearing book that greatly influenced the way I thought about my children and how to discipline them. It was Help! I’m a Parent! by Dr. Bruce Narramore. (And I still highly recommend it, BTW.)
One of the most important things I learned from this book was that if possible you should let your child experience the natural consequences of disobedience. Of course the range of possibilities was narrow – hot stoves, busy streets, and other dangers shouldn’t be experienced firsthand. But not picking up toys, dawdling before school, and other misbehaviors were ideal.
One thing that makes a novel satisfying is when good is rewarded and evil is conquered; that is, when natural consequences take their course and justice is served. When the author does not make that happen, there’d better be a good reason – and a bigger point to be made.
One of the reasons I love the Bible so dearly is that it shows the long-term consequences of good and evil-- in generations long after some sins were committed.
There are novels considered “great” which ignore such rules. But I never found them satisfying, edifying, or insightful. I remember reading The Crying of Lot 49 in college and turning the last page and saying, “Yeah, what?” (Which was apparently the author’s desired reaction – to show pointlessness. As a struggling college student I thought the pointless part was having to pay for the novel.)
What novels have you read recently in which good is not rewarded or in which evil prevails? Would you consider such a book a moral book? Do you know of any such books published by Christian publishers? If so, tell what your impression was of the book(s).
Next week for the topic of the week I'll be discussing unlikeable/amoral/immoral central characters, including those who seem to triumph.