Why Not?

Wouldn’t It Be Murder? by Jackson
December 2, 2009, 1:43 am
Filed under: Jackson

In chapter 6, Pig And Pepper, Alice is faced with an astounding and absolutely diabolical ethical dilemma. When she leaves the house of the Duchess, she is given the Duchess’s baby, to “nurse it a bit.” While Alice was in the Duchess’s house, she sees the baby being maliciously treated. The Duchess is shaking the baby, the cook is hitting it with frying pans, and the baby is sneezing left and right from all the pepper in the air. On top of all this, the Duchess calls the baby “Pig” at all occasions necessary (which is at any time she can manage). Alice, now, asks herself an impossible question. “If I don’t take this child with me,” she says, “they’ll kill it in a day or two. Wouldn’t it be murder to leave it behind?”

This is one of the hardest ethical questions that can be posed, but, unfortunately, it is a situation that often happens. The dilemma plays on two factors: the abuse of a child, and the acknowledgment that the child’s mother may have a real attraction, and that the child is their right to keep. Unfortunately, child abuse cases can leave a child in an orphanage, or in foster care, as the parents of the child simply are incapable of properly rearing a child. Although destructive, these separations are often the best thing for law enforcement agents to do, as it saves a child from years of maltreatment, and in the worst case, scenario, death. In these situations, I must say that I have to address each case separately, and cannot talk about them as a whole.

If a child is simply neglected by parents to the point at which they barely notice that it is there, I believe that the child should be separated from the rest of the family. In this case, if the parents don’t care about the child when it is with them, they shouldn’t care about it when it is not with their family. Another situation in which I would advise intervention would be the case of physical abuse of a child. When a child is harmed, repeatedly and purposefully, there is no reason for the child to remain with the family. I believe that the child would make a recovery when removed from the abuse of the parent.

One situation in which I would not advocate the separation of child and parents is when the child and parents do indeed have true affection for each other, but there is a barrier. This could be something such as alcoholism, a bad temper, or a psychological condition on behalf of either parent or child. Since these barriers can hopefully be removed by counseling and conditioning, I see no reason to leave the child to the fates of an orphanage.

This brings us back to the situation Alice is put in. I believe that since the child has been beaten, and maltreated, the child should, in fact, be taken away from the Duchess. Thankfully, the Duchess has cast it away herself, where the decision can be more easily made.

1 Comment so far
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I like the way you have related the Duchess’ situation to a contemporary setting, leading to an ethical dilemma that we can easily identify with.

Comment by Drew Buddie

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