Mercy Among the Children

Essay by carinisaHigh School, 12th gradeB+, November 2014

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Carin Isa

Mrs. Selvaggi


11 June 2012

Universal Human Failings in Mercy Among the Children

Failure is a universal human imperfection, which one cannot control or escape. It is an occurrence that everyone will experience whether it is because one is trying to set a higher limit for him or herself or whether one has fallen from grace. To read about character's who experience failure similar to our own or in some cases tremendously different from our own we gain a sense of comfort or relief. Character's like Rudy Bellanger and Lyle Henderson in Mercy Among the Children display these imperfections and failures throughout their course in the novel. Things like fear, lust, vengeance and greed all play a role in the failures of these characters along with the theme of mercy which is what ultimately drives some characters to failure. In David Adams Richards' Mercy Among the Children various aspects of universal human failings can be analyzed in many characters using the theme of mercy, which is especially evident throughout novel.

In Richards' Mercy Among the Children both Sydney and Lyle Henderson exhibit the idea of true human failure with respect to the theme of mercy. Sydney Henderson receives mercy from very few members of his town because of the terrible and otherwise conventional failures of his father before him. Sydney is often times portrayed enduring the wrath and cruelty brought on by men like Mathew Pit, Connie Devlin and Constable Morris who allow him no mercy and accuse him of treacherous acts and scheming plots. "I guess you have been let down by me - I am not very good at the world - in all my life I have not been" (Richards 137). Sydney's one failure, which may or may not be what leads...