This is the complete opposite of what the ideal Christian should do. Even though Jacob believes he is being good we learn he is only seeking attention. ironically for the Story he never receives the blessings he wants. Twain is using this story not just to tell a story, but to make a point. The point he wants to make is that anyone can do good things, but if they are being done for the wrong reason you will never receive the full reward.
The first ironic thing a reader will come across in the story is the title itself. To someone who has never read the story this title would make it easy to believe Jacob is a great kid, but after reading the story the irony of the title is revealed. This irony of the title can also coexist with the purpose of the story tself.
Just because someone in society has a title that makes them seem like a reliable, “good” person does not mean they are.
Janeway 2 Part of Jacob’s true motive for doing good is seen in the first sentence of paragraph three, “Jacob had a noble ambition to be put in a Sunday-school book” (331). This goal Jacob wants to achieve is what helps lead to the odd way Jacob is said to behave, “He wouldn’t play marbles on Sunday, he wouldnt rob birds’ nest, he wouldn’t give hot pennies to organ-grinders’ monkeys; he didn’t seem to the any interest in any kind of rational amusement” (330).
He did not act like a normal boy. He stayed away from anything that could classify him as being a bad boy. The first ironic encounter Jacob has is with one of the “bad boys”: Jim Blake when Jacob goes to tell him a story of a boy that fell and broke his arm by stealing apples like he was (331 Jim falls out of the tree and broke Jacob’s arm. This strange turn of events is not what a reader would normally expect, but it fits well with the situational irony through the story. The next ironic situation Jacob faces is being beat with a cane.
After Jacob sees a group of “bad boys” push a blind an into a puddle. He runs over to help him up so he can “receive his blessing”, but things again take a strange turn of events (331). Instead of thanking Jacob and giving him a blessing the man beats him across the head with his stick. After this Jacob is very confused on why he is not getting the blessings the boys in his books would have received. Proof of his confusion is shown in the end of the paragraph by informing the reader that Jacob read over his books again for an answer on why he is not being blessed.
After he was unable to find an Janeway 3 nswer to his struggle Jacob remembers a good deed he has always wanted to achieve. Jacob wants to find a stray dog to bring home and receive it’s “imperishable gratitude” (331). Yet, to no one’s surprise, Jacob’s plan does not go well. After he found a dog he brought it home and fed it, but when he went to pet the dog it attacked him. Really the fact the stray dog attacked him is not too surprising, but the point Twain is still wanting to make is that Jacob’s motive behind helping the dog is still wrong.
He is focused on himself still not the subject, in this case the dog, he is helping. By the irony Twain has used through the whole story. The reader should now be able to see the point he wants to make. unfortunately for Jacob the story is not over yet. Twain continues to tell Jacob’s story even though we know nothing good is coming. “On his way to Sunday-school, [Jacob] saw some bad boys starting off pleasuring in a sailboat. He was filled with consternation, because he knew from his reading that boys who went sailing on Sunday invariably got drowned” (332).
With all the concern in his little heart for what gift he may receive. Jacob ran out to a aft to tell them what they were doing is dangerous. unfortunately to Jacob irony strikes again. In his willingness to “help” he falls into the water and catches a cold. A cold that leaves him in bed for nine weeks. At this point Jacob is “dumbfounded” (332). After getting well Jacob Janeway 4 decides he will give up on the “good” deeds to get into a Sunday-school book, and use his final “dying speech to fall back on”, or can he (332)?
Sadly for Jacob, “he never got a chance to make his last dying speech after all his trouble fixing it up, unless he made it to the birds; because, although the bulk f him came down all right in a tree-top in an adjoining county, the rest of him was apportioned around among four townships” (333). The last blow of irony to poor little Jacob is quite literally a blow. He is spanked by Alerderman McWelter after he was thought to be part of a bad boy plot to pull a “little joke on fourteen or fifteen dogs” (332). Wanting to help the dogs out without hoping for a blessing afterwards is the first time Jacob does a deed truly from heart.
Sadly for good little Jacob he is blown sky high by a very explosive hit on the bottom. This final explosive ending to the story that leaves Jacob and his dreams shattered. Even though Jacob’s final attempt at good was in true kind intention he is still left empty handed. His journey to be his version of an ideal Christian he falls short. Each story of Jacob turns out the complete opposite of what would normally be expected. From the start in the title to the final sentence there is irony. The ironic final sentences, “His case is truly remarkable. It will probably never be accounted for,” is probably the most ironic thing of all (333).
Twain finished the story by telling us that Jacob’s crazy story will probably never be told, but he just finished telling it to us. No matter how crazy this story seems Twain’s purpose is clear. Doing things Janeway 5 for the wrong reason, even if it is thought to be right, is never good.
Cite this The Story Of The Good Little Boy
The Story Of The Good Little Boy. (2017, Jul 21). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-story-of-the-good-little-boy-43639/