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Foxtrot's Theories

The Gathering - Isobelle Carmody

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
Write a text response that supports some reader’s suggestion that Carmody’s main message in The Gathering is that all humans possess the potential to be evil.

Isobelle Carmody delivers reference to people and their potential to be evil throughout her novel, The Gathering. The human race is able to behave in a satanic manner and Carmody establishes that anyone can do so. There are circumstances where even the ‘good guy’, Nathaniel, thinks of conforming to the dark side. It is tempting sometimes, and people can journey a story like Nissa’s because they let feelings get the better of them and travel to extreme lengths when they are desperate. If there is something desired, perhaps a sort of supremacy, a character like Mr. Karle will employ others to inflict evil upon those in his path. Memories don’t know how much they are tormenting someone, Nathaniel’s recollections of his dad and Anna’s of Zebediah are an evil torture. Carmody proves anyone can be evil.

Anger and vengeance can often compel people towards evil acts; Nathaniel may be incredibly sweet, but still feels hurt and rage. There are times when an individual has just had enough, they lose control their thoughts. When Buddha follows Mr. Karle’s orders and incinerates The Tod, Nathaniel’s dog, it cuts him very deep. Where The Chain and Gathering collide in the abattoir, Nathaniel’s thoughts explain how he’d reason to endeavour an evil task;
“… I spotted Buddha. I began to shake, not out of fear, but of instant rage at the indelible memory of him smiling as he lit the match that destroyed The Tod. … At that moment I would have given my life to give some carnage to Mr. Karle and Buddha.”
Nathaniel’s objective would amount to revenge. He doesn’t hurt anyone, but it’s extremely close. He thinks solemnly of the consequences, although, on the inside, all he wants to do is lash out. Carmody includes a number of characters who are pushed over the edge, and quite often they consider the natural choice of retaliating with a cruel scheme, unless they can stop themselves. Anyone could follow an evil path in such a situation when influenced by the emotional bounty of so much hurt.

After a large amount of misfortune, Nissa portrays a character feeling very desperate for what they need, what she’d do to achieve it seems evil in ways. At various points throughout The Gathering, Carmody conveys a sufficient example of evil lying within Nissa’s story. Some things are just wrong, are shunned by society and are ethically incorrect. An older man approaches Nissa and she is willing to accept his propositions.
“… It is saying that it was me he came to see… well, I… it felt good. He started putting his arms around me… I would have done anything for him just then.”
It would have been a moral sin for a young girl to pursue such interest in a strange man who is only there to take advantage of her. Nissa doesn’t mean any harm, she’s lonely, however she throws herself into an evil exploit. She isn’t an evil person, although her behaviour shows that she could be, even though she wasn’t trying for an ultimate, hellish domination.

With the nature of Mr. Karle, there is no doubt that a character is able to execute evil. Leaders and rulers would maintain a soaring capability to conduct himself maliciously, because his reliable band of followers would allow it. He had control over Cheshunt, which was the source of evil itself. With the aid of his loyal minions, Mr. Karle performs evil deeds, with a goal of spreading what was purely the work of the devil to capture the world. Danny jokes, “Chestnut today, the world tomorrow.” He pokes fun at the situation, however Mr. Karle’s mission is to conquer the entire world. He would succeed. His vindictive smile would not falter. Mr. Karle’s power could allow evil to flourish within him, it enhances his potential to do terrible things. In the end, he fails, however his evil is legendary, and it lives on until it’s exalted and people, like The Chain, will remember it forever.

Even when someone like Nathaniel’s dad is already dead, the memories can haunt eternally. Once some is beyond the grave, wrongs cannot be righted, and therefore feelings of evil implements cannot be rectified. Nathaniel’s dad appeared abusive and angry, he hurt Nathaniel, mostly his emotions. Nathaniel is scared of what he recalls of his father, the vile way he affected him. His nightmares instil even more fear, and make him remember, and everything seems more evil.
“… As the car bore down on me, I saw the man behind the wheel change into my father, his face contorted with fury. ‘Children should be seen and not heard!’ he growled. I screamed as the car ploughed into me.”
Nathaniel’s image of his dad is as an evil monster that he sees in other dreams, and now that cannot change, because his dad is dead.

Another example of the pain from the ghosts of people passed is Anna’s release in chapter 15. “Anna Galway began to weep soundlessly, tears running along the groves and lines of her ancient face.” She cries as she remembers Zebediah. Anna loves him and his disappearance from her life and his death to her will always be a reminder of loneliness. His memory is capable of haunting her with cruel and evil reminders.

Carmody spreads a message through The Gathering that everyone can be evil. All people have this ability and certain occurrences encourage such acts. With characters of Nathaniel, anger, desperations sparks Nissa, Mr. Karle just wants to be boss, and those passed on, like Nathaniel’s dad and Zebediah, are memories of evil things of the past. Meaning within the Gathering confirms that everyone posses the potential to be evil.


  1. Heathcliff's Avatar
    This was an essay I handed in during early year eight.

    It was only supposed to be 600 words. Oops.

    I wrote it so long ago, I really think I could do better now.

    I may as well post it anyway, even though it could be better.