The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
Actions carry a lot of weight in most stories that involve showdowns between good and evil. This is definitely the case in The Graveyard Book. We know Jack Frost is evil because he murders Bod’s family and wants to murder Bod too. Simple as that. We know Bod is good because he sticks up for people who are bullied, studies hard, and is nice to his family. Again, pretty simple math. Unless, you agree with Scarlett, who thinks the way Bod dealt with the Jacks makes him a monster. Silas makes everything more complicated right at the end of the novel when he tells Bod that he used to be worse than the Jacks – worse than any monster in living history. Yet, now Silas is an upstanding vampire and member of the Honor Guard. How do we judge Silas – by his past, his present, or both?
Type of Being
In Chapter 3, Miss Lupescu lists the nine types of people in the world:
"Repeat after me, there are the living and the dead, there are the day-folk and the night-folk, there are ghouls and mist-walkers, there are the high hunters and the Hounds of God. Also, there are solitary types." (3.60).
The types of people we meet seem to have some important characteristics. For example, all of the ghouls seem pretty darn evil (what with eating dead people, wanting to kill Bod, and living in Hell and all). On the other hand, according to Miss Lupescu, all Hounds of God (werewolves) are on the side of good. Can you come up with a list of characteristics that define the other groups of people?
It's also to point out that a lot of the characters aren't what we expect. Did you expect werewolves to be good? How about a witch like Liza? And Silas is definitely good, but maybe not all vampires are (he says he used to be monstrous).