Song: Suffer Little Children
Album: The Smiths
Writer(s): Morrissey and Johnny Marr
Suffer Little Children is about the Moors Murders that took place on Saddleworth Moor near Manchester, between 1963 and 1965, shocked England. Ian Duncan Stewart and Myra Hindley sexually assaulted and murdered five children between the ages of 10 and 17. Many of the young victims were only a few years older than Morrissey at the time.
The title of the song is a phrase found in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 19, verse 14, in which Jesus rebukes his disciples for turning away a group of children and says:
“Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
In The Suburbs chapter of The Last of Us, within the sewers that made up Ish’s community, Joel and Sam, separated from Ellie and Henry, some across a nursery or classroom. There are toys littered around the room. The body of an adult, presumably the teacher or care giver, is beside the bodies of several dead children covered with sheets with their bare feet exposed. The teacher crawled “They didn’t suffer” on the floor in front of their bodies. Even Joel appears horrified.
- Sam: Why couldn’t they keep it safe?
- Joel: Son, I wish I knew. God knows they didn’t deserve it.
This scene and the earlier scene at the Toy Store (scattered toys) foreshadows Sam’s death. At the end of the chapter, Sam is given the toy robot by Ellie that he had wanted from the Toy Store. Sam is afraid and shows no interest in the robot. The next morning he is found to have been infected and turned and attacks Ellie. When his brother Henry shots him, as a form of a mercy killing, and then commits suicide to end both their sufferings.
In turn this scene, also reflects Sarah’s murder at the beginning of the game to prevent the spread of the infection and prefigures the end of the game when Ellie offers up her life to provide a cure for the infection.
The children in the Moors Murders were violently assaulted and murdered. Sarah is murdered presuming she is infected. In contrast to the children in Ish’s community and Sam were killed to prevent them from suffering at the hands of the Infected but they all end up in “the kingdom of heaven” regardless.