13 June 2011
Seeking Recognition May Be the Only Reward One Is Given
Jacob Blivens in “The Story of a Good Little Boy” has so much faith in the boys in the Sunday school lessons he reads about. “He believed in the good little boys they put in the Sunday school books; he had every confidence in them” (Twain 604). Jacob does not miss an opportunity to go to church and read the stories of his heroes. He really believes the good boys in the stories really exist. He badly wants to be in a book for others to see but is confused of how it will ever happen, since all the kids in the stories die at the end. He wants to be alive and see the book ...view middle of the document...
Jacob even spends several weeks in bed sick from falling into the river while trying to stop other boys from having fun. When Jacob decided to look for work as a cabin-boy, he shows the ship-captain his book of Scripture as his recommendation only to be rejected and ridiculed, yet again.
In most stories, whether Scripture or not, the reader is lead to believe that when a person acts badly that they are punished, and when someone acts well they are rewarded. Jacob is always good but is never rewarded, in fact, he is usually punished. It clearly states in Scripture that if one does good works just to be recognized and rewarded then that will be the only reward and you will not receive the gifts of God (Bible Matthew 6:1). Then there are many stories of people that would eventually give up the good behavior to join the bad kids that seem to be having fun, especially after not reaping any benefits. Jacob is quick to interject when seeing others doing things he does not approve of. This act eventually results in his demise. “Thus perished the good little boy who did the best he could, but didn’t come out according to the books” (Twain 607).
Jacob chooses to interpret and apply the Scripture to his life by obeying. Even up to his last moments he stays true to being good. Jacob has no idea that he is never going to be in a Sunday school book or get to recite his prepared dying speech.
Twain, Mark. “The Story of the Good Little Boy.” The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed.
Michael Meyer.9th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2011.15-16. Print.