Binary Post (Group C): The Truant Boy + The Truant Boy’s End

The obvious binary that we can see in the two parts of this story is Good v. Bad. Now, the binary is purposefully very broad, because within these very broad concepts are a lot of different and narrow-minded opinions that were indicative of the environment in which they were written.

One thing that stands out in this story is the idea of predestination.  The story pounds into one’s mind the idea that one mistake will inevitably lead to another, which will lead to another, and before you know it, you’re on a boat regretting your entire life’s purpose. Given the story’s context, which is some time in the 19th century, we can conceivably see that religion is the engine behind these thoughts. By not acting like a good boy would, or like a religious boy would, the path that Henry has taken is one that he can not come back from. His life will end in hell. This quote, which is on page 175 explains as much:

“Poor Henry! How much he was to be pitied! And, yet, he had no one to blame but himself, for his sorrows… if he would now truly repent…he might be happy. But…he had not resolution to break away from his wicked companions” (175).

The author of the story is urging Henry to repent, but we know that it is not to be happy, like the story says. It is to be freed from his unwinding path to hell. And so, the good v. bad binary that I mentioned before doesn’t actually seem to be the real binary. The story  masks what binary they are actually trying to equate with good v. bad. Good, to the story, means religious, and bad means not religious.


“The Truant Boy.” MESSRS. ABBOTT, Mount Vernon Reader, a Course of Reading Lessons, New York: Collins, Keese & Co., 1841. Collins, Keese, & Co., 1841. Web. 10 Oct. 2015. 

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