To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a fictional book that is an exploration of human morality, ittries to make the reader see between inherent goodness and evilness in people. Thebook takes place in a town called Maycomb, Alabama during the Great Depression.
Told through the eyes of a young girl named Scout Finch, the reader learns thather father Atticus Finch, and lawyer who tries to prove that Tom Robinson, ablack man falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell who is white woman, isinnocent. Atticus also strives to prove the innocence of Boo Radley, amysterious neighbor who saves Scout and her older brother Jem from being killedby Mr. Ewell, the father of Mayella. Throughout the book, Scout and Jem make a change from innocence to maturity,when they start to realize that not everyone is purely good, that they haveevil in them.
During TomRobinson’s trial, Jem and Scout are disappointed when the jury convicts TomRobinson as guilty, when he is obviously innocent simply because he is blackand was accused by a white woman. Jem is shaken by the fact that there isindeed evil in the world they live in. This struggle causes Jem emotional pain,as he tries admit to himself of the unfortunate realities that things such as racismand inequality exist. When Jem is talking with Atticus juries, Atticus tellsJem straight forward that a white man is always superior to a black man, “Inour courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white manalways win. They’re ugly, but those are the facts about life.
” Atticus tellsJem that although he lives in an unfair place, he must deal with it because itcannot be changed. DuringTom Robinson’s trial, Atticus argues that not all black men are bad andtherefore Tom Robinson should not be pronounced guilty because of that. Hestates that no race is more evil than another and that humans in general havethe ability to pursue both evil and good. He argues that black people arecapable of lying and not be trustworthy, but he states that this does not applyjust to blacks, but to all humans in general, “But this is a truth that appliesto the human race and no particular race of men.” The truth he speaks of isthat all humans have the ability to lie, be immoral and not be trusted aroundwomen. Most people of Maycomb believe that simply because a man is black, he isguilty of anything accused by a white man, which is clearly incorrect andAtticus tries to show them they are wrong.
Whilereading Mr. Underwood’s article on the Maycomb newspaper, Scout comes to arealization that Tom had lost the case before it even began, “Tom was a deadman the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed. The wrongdoing ofthe trial shocks Scout as she realizes that the justice system failed.
She nowknows that Tom Robinson never had the chance to be proven innocent since thetown and jury is biased to white people. Although the town knows the truth isthat Mr. Ewell is the one that is guilty for what happened to Mayella, it waseasy for him to frame Tom Robinson simply because he was black, and he wasgoing to prove guilty without any factual evidence because of that. Although the characters know that thereis some sort of good in their community, they also realize that there is evilin their world. There are many situations that help them realize about thisevil, for example Tom Robinson’s trial and the fact that he was proved guiltysimply because he is a black man.
In the book, evil and wrongdoing is basicallyracism, unfairness and inequality amongst people, especially blacks. In thebeginning characters, such as Jem and Scout believe only good exists in peopleand as they start maturing they start to come in terms with the fact that evilexists in people.