The Battle of Good and Evil

The Battle of Good and Evil

I stumbled upon this statue in a garden in New York City

The Battle of Good and Evil

Look at the detail of a man’s head that has been bitten off by a lobster.  Isn’t this about the oddest thing that you’ve ever seen in a statue?

This is what it immediately reminded me of:

Alice in Wonderland illustrationAn illustration by Sir John Tenniel from Alice in Wonderland.  Can you see the similarities?






Tweedledum and Tweedledee Or with this drawing of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, also from Alice in Wonderland?







At this point, you’re probably saying, “Enough of playing with us, Georgia.  Get to the point.  Where is this statue?

The Battle of Good and Evil

The Battle of Good and Evil rises up in the garden of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.   Although the head of Satan dangles from lobster claws, don’t you think it’s safe to assume that the Archangel, sword in hand, had something to do with his demise?

Columns of St. John the Divine

The Cathedral was built in the late 1800’s.  One of the columns depicts the collapse of the World Trade Towers.

Before you get  excited about the artisans foreseeing the future, consider that this is one of the greatest architectural follies I’ve ever seen.  The money to carve these columns wasn’t raised until recently. Currently, there is not enough money in the coffers of the bishopric to keep up with routine maintenance, much less any major renovations.

However, the beleagured congregation of a mere 1,500 families boasts that this is the largest cathedral in the world.

Peacock in the

This peacock presides over it all; statue, garden and cathedral.  As do peacocks around the world.

Could one extrapolate the worldwide role of men from the life of this peacock?

8 thoughts on “The Battle of Good and Evil

  1. Odd Indeed Georgia. Thanks for your observation that the statue elicited images from Alice in Wonderland. It would be easy to believe that the artist’s mantra while designing this work was the song “White Rabbit” . If so, the statue makes complete sense.

    As to the peacock, thanks to the wonders of the internet I would like to share the following:

    In Christianity the Peacock represents the “all-seeing” church, along with the holiness and sanctity associated with it. Additionally, the Peacock represents resurrection, renewal and immortality (even St. Augustine believed the peacock’s flesh to have “antiseptic qualities” and that it didn’t corrupt). In early Christianity, the peacock became a symbol of Christ and the Resurrection. Its image embellished everything from the Catacombs to everyday objects, like lamps, especially in early Romanesque and Byzantine churches.

    By golly, peacocks are not only pretty, they have symbolic meaning! On the subject of meaning, does anyone find it surprising that Christianity associates these symbols to the peacock and not the peahen?

    What a wonderful tour from a wonderful guide.

    What’s the next stop?!


  2. Since monuments (especially public ones) have stirred controversy, like, forever, I would be very interested in learning what the congregation thought of their garden sculpture at the time of unveiling! It is indeed curiously surrealistic. I’m going to NYC shortly and will definitely have to see this in person!

    p.s. Love the “Peacock” research by BF! Will have to keep that tidbit in my back pocket …

  3. I am always intrigued by your jottings. I am currious why my reaction to these notes are somewhat random. Oh well. I guess I will just go with that and ask the question: Why are the males in the animal species typically the glamorous gender and in the human species it is the women who have acquired that beauty? The contrast is notable. Wonder why?

    • Hi Currious: Interesting question, to which I have no answer. I do know, how ever, that we have some highly educated readers who just might have some thoughts on your question.

      • I am new here and I’m really enjoying the writing. I am not highly educated but I do have some thoughts regarding the question posed by Currious.

        Perhaps there is some truth in the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. In Georgia’s previous post, she profiled two “beautiful” people, one male one female: assumption, males can be beautiful. Assuming women are more beautiful than men is most likely the consensus of most of the male readers but I wonder about the female readers?

        It is my understanding that females, regardless of species, are biologically programed to seek out a mate that will provide and protect, making size an important attribute. This thesis has been somewhat confirmed, for humans, by a recent survey of 5,000 women that asked what reason was given for ending or not starting a serious relationship. Reason number one was “there is someone else” (potentially signaling the female desire for monogamy), and reason number two ” you are not tall enough for me”. A response I certainly did not expect, interesting don’t you think?

        As to the theory that in the animal world the male is more beautiful. This is not actually true in most species, as in most species the male and female look pretty much alike.
        But in those sexually dimorphic species, the female is usually the one to stay with the young and care for them until they are old enough to take care of themselves. Therefore she is camouflaged to keep her and the young safer from predators. The showy male can attack intruders and draw attention away from his family.
        There is at least one species of duck in which the male sits on the eggs and raises the ducklings, while the female goes on to start another family with another male. In this species, the male is camouflaged and the female is showy.

        Thanks Georgia for opening up this dialogue. These are of course just thoughts.


        • Hi MS: You are too modest. You may not be highly formally educated, but you certainly read and think widely. Thank you so much for your thoughtful response to this posting. I’ll look forward to hearing more from you.

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