The Red Room Theme of Good vs. Evil
The narrative of "The Red Room" can be read as a classic good vs. evil story. More accurately, it could be seen as a battle of the forces of light against the powers of darkness. The nifty thing is that we're really talking about light vs. dark. The story centers on the struggle of the protagonist to preserve light in a room against the growing darkness, which threatens to extinguish it. The darkness and shadows are personified as an evil force, and they’re closely tied to fear. (For more on fear as antagonist, check out "Character Roles.") The internal conflict of the narrator’s reason against his fear mirrors the external conflict against the darkness of the red room.
Questions About Good vs. Evil
- In what ways is literal darkness representative of evil, and literal light of good?
- How could such abstract things be seen as "active" forces in the story?
- What is the relationship between internal and external conflict in the story? Between fear and darkness?
- Is the narrator himself a good character? Why or why not?
Chew on This
The narrator is not a good character; he is the site for the real battle between good (reason) and evil (fear).