The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book Theme of Good vs. Evil
This is always a fun theme, because it forces us to think about our opinions on good and evil. Neil Gaiman does an excellent job of this in The Graveyard Book. First of all, many of the good guys are supernatural creatures that usually have reputations for bad behavior (like werewolves, mummies, and vampires). On the other side, the bad guys – from the Jacks of All Trades to Maureen Quilling, the ten-year-old bully – are totally human. Some creatures are all good (like werewolves, a.k.a. Hounds of God). Others are all bad (like the seriously disgusting ghouls). But most characters have a choice to make: they can either be good or evil, depending on their actions.
Questions About Good vs. Evil
- Are the Jacks purely evil? Could they ever change?
- What do you think made Silas change from evil to good?
- Could Bod ever become evil? Do you agree with Scarlett that Bod acted like a monster when he tricked Jack Frost into becoming the master of the Sleer? How do you feel about Bod's treatment of Maureen and Nick?
- Would you say that Maureen and Nick, the school bullies, are evil? Is there a difference between being mean and being evil?
- If you were going to make a list of rules the good guys should follow while fighting the bad guys, what would be on the list? Is it OK to terrify evil enemies? Is it OK to kill them?
- Has Miss Lupescu always been good? Are all Hounds of God always good?
- Is Liza good, evil, or somewhere in between? What makes you think so?
Chew on This
There’s no chance the Jacks could ever become good.
Bod could easily slip over to the dark side if he isn’t careful with his mean streak.