This is part two in a series on choosing literature for our children. Last week I discussed Truth in Literature. This week, continuing with the virtues found in Philippians 4:8, I have written about honesty and justice. All definitions come from Noah Webster’s 1828 edition of the American Dictionary of the English Language.

Honest: a. Upright; just, fair in dealing with others; free from trickishness and fraud; acting and having the disposition to act at all times according to justice or correct moral principles.
Alexander Pope: “An honest man’s the noblest work of God.”

Good literature has characters who are honest in all their dealings. They live the life they believe in. For example, in Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio was deceived by the dishonest cat and fox who tried to trick him, whereas, Geppeto was honest in his desires for Pinocchio and was always an example of the true principles he tried to teach Pinocchio.

Just: a. 1. Regular; orderly. In a moral sense, upright; honest; having principles of rectitude; or conforming exactly to the laws, and to principles of rectitude in social conduct; 6. Righteous; influenced by a regard to the laws of God; or living in exact conformity to the divine will. True to promises; faithful

Justice says that when someone conforms to law, they are blessed, but if they break the law, they receive a just consequence. In a favorite, Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John, one wicked act by Lucien leads to Dani being crippled, and the consequential guilt and helplessness as he tries to amend what he has done. It also leads to Annette’s darkness of anger, resentment and justification. The miracle of the story is not just with Dani’s healing, but when Annette forgives Lucien. Justice can be tempered by mercy, but justice must be acknowledged.

What are some of your favorite characters that exemplify honesty? What is a book where justice is fairly met?

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