The dilemma between good and evil began long before our time, and it’s been chronicled since man could write. Stephen King, one of the controversial writers of our time, brings his characters to life by giving them peculiar attributes, individual and bold attitudes, and places them in unusual predicaments. The Gunslinger series by Stephen King is a sequence of books that show the internal struggle between good and evil. His character are presented with obstacles, and readers observe how each one responds to the challenges presented to them, waiting to see how far they will go to achieve what they believe is the greater good.
King realistically conveys to his readers that although his characters put forth their best efforts to do what they feel is upright, their actions are not always in their best interests. The author clearly shows readers that no amount of good a person does can prevent them from getting hurt. In books one, two, and four King puts his characters through certain situations to create certain outcomes. King makes an effort to show readers how people arrive at the right, or wrong choice, in different situations. This is, of course, the classic struggle between good and evil. King introduces Roland, the protagonist, in “Gunslinger”.
Roland is crucial in King’s endeavor to present to his readers how people make the choice between good and evil. In “Gunslinger”, Roland is presented with an option; he can either save a boy’s life, or he can let the boy plunge to his death and not deviate from his plan. Roland loves the boy, Jake, and is torn between saving him and pursuing his target, the man in black. Roland decides to sacrifice his friend’s life in order to hound the man in black. Roland’s goal is to reach the Dark Tower, and he feels that he must make sacrifices and forgo the sentimental, in order to achieve his goal.
His ultimate goal is what he believes is the greater good, and he will go to any length to reach it. Society has sacrificed of innocence to achieve their definitive purpose, history is proof of this. King simply brings this to light. Roland has love for the boy; however, in not saving his life he saves more lives in the end. Saving Jake’s life might be in Jake’s best interest, but in doing so Roland will be affected negatively. King writes that getting to the Dark Tower, is what Roland believes is the greater good, but King gives no verification of whether getting to the Dark Tower is for the better good.
In introducing new characters, King gives his readers more insight into the Dark Tower. In the second books there are two new key characters introduced, Eddie is one. Roland knows that he is to find two people and make them part of his ka-tet, he is to train them to become future gunslingers too. However, getting to them is not an easy task. Roland has to rescue them not only from their worlds, but from themselves as well. Roland has to leave his world and go to Eddie’s world to get him. Roland encounters Eddie in the middle of a drug deal gone awry.
It doesn’t take very long for Roland to realize that Eddie is a drug addict. Under the guise of helping him, Roland decides to trick Eddie and bring Eddie back to Roland’s world. Roland realizes that lying and manipulating Eddie is not right, but Roland feels that in doing so he is only helping Eddie, and in turn help himself. This is a case in which the ends justify the means. Roland once again proves that he will go to any lengths to get to the Dark Tower. Not understanding where he’s being taken, and why he’s being taken into an unknown realm, Eddie is enraged.
Eddie is furious when Roland lies to him, however, when Eddie realizes Roland is sick and dying, his anger dies down. Eddie has to decide if he wants to save Roland’s or let him die. Keeping in mind that Eddie is furious with Roland and is going through withdrawal, this decision is not a quick one for Eddie. Eddie can either act out of spite and anger, and leave Roland to face death, or he can put aside his emotions and make the right choice. Eddie comes to terms that Roland had to do what he did, and he saves him. There are many instances in which the conscience prevails when one struggles with oneself, and Eddie can attest to that.
Internal conflicts are more common than the public knows, and King gives his readers a case in his second book, with Susannah. Susannah is also a key character in the “Gunslinger” series. After Roland’s encounter with Eddie, they go in search of Susannah, a schizophrenic. Susannah’s challenge, unlike that of Eddie and Roland, does not have to deal with other people, but herself. Susannah must deal with her good and her bad within herself, which is difficult for one to grasp, let alone deal with. Susannah knows that to become whole, she must battle her inner demons.
She has to merge her good and her bad into one, and with much effort she prevails. She finally succeeds and overcomes her schizophrenia. King, through Susannah, gives readers another instance in which good triumphs over evil. The fourth book “The Wizard and the Glass” is a book that goes into detail about Roland’s past. Here King goes into matters of the heart, when he lets his readers learn of the love Roland had for Susan, the woman Roland loved before she died. King lets the readers see that Roland allows his heart to get the best of him, when he lets his love for Susan interfere with his plans to keep the Good Man from taking control.
When faced with the repercussions of his actions, Roland understands that there is damage done due to his actions. Roland is shocked, because he had never let a woman cause him to stray from his path, and is disappointed because he has allowed it to happen. He understands that his emotions for Susan has impaired his judgment, and he must now work on damage control. Roland has always known himself to put the fight against the Good Man first, and not a woman. Men and women have struggled alike, in letting the object of their affection affect their purpose.
The conflict between logic and love plagued us for ages, and many say that there is no right or wrong when it comes to love. Roland decides that his love for Susan will only hurt his purpose, and he sacrifices love for the greater good. Trials and tribulations presented to people only refine them. King puts his characters through many trials and tribulations, and he does a good job of portraying the struggle of good and evil. King shows that although individuals make choices that may not sit well with one’s stomach, there is a reason for everything his characters do.
King uses Roland, Eddie and Susannah to provide several different cases of the internal and external struggle between good and evil. King let his readers know that he believes love is an important factor in life, but even love must fall second to that which is the greater good. King conveys that the good always prevail, but he also tells his readers that not everyone who does good is rewarded. He does so with Roland and his love, Susan. King is a brilliant, yet debatable author. His literature does not appeal to everyone, yet he puts forth his best effort in showing all aspects of human life and culture in his works.
Courtney from Study Moose
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