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How does Harper Lee present different kinds of conflict in To KIll A Mockingbird?

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sittingbull | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 7, 2012 at 12:35 PM via web

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How does Harper Lee present different kinds of conflict in To KIll A Mockingbird?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 7, 2012 at 2:33 PM (Answer #1)

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Harper Lee places conflict at the center of To Kill a Mockingbird. Obviously, there is racial conflict aplenty in the book, as the town explodes over the trial of Tom Robinson. The use of racial epithets is ubiquitous in the town, as is scorn for anyone who recognizes African-Americans as equal. There is also generational conflict in the book. Some of the townspeople blame the occurences that occur just before the trial, the burning of Miss Maudie's house and the rare snowfall, as being some sort of divine retribution for the amoral behavior of the children of the town. Class conflict exists as well. The well-to-do people of the town want little to do with the poor people, who they dismiss as "white trash." The jury's acquittal of Bob Ewell is a fascinating intersection of race and class. Ultimately, while he is as much of an outsider to Maycomb society as one can be, living in a shack next to the town garbage dump, he is still white, and in Alabama society in the early 1960s, that counts for much. Lee presents Maycomb, despite seeming a sleepy small town, as being torn by all sorts of conflict.

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harry7459 | Student, Grade 11 | Honors

Posted May 8, 2012 at 12:20 AM (Answer #2)

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Paragraph 1 : The message of tolerant is conveyed in the novel.

-           This is an important message that resounds in the novel. We will understand other people if we climb in their skin or walk in their shoes. The children come to understand Boo Radley especially when scout stands literally on the porch of the Radley’s and see events Boo would have seen. They hear the truth of Dolphus Raymond and understand where he maintains his pretence of a drunk. They make the Lynch mob when scout chats to Walter Cunningham. Atticus makes the children understand Mrs. Dubose and Miss Caroline. Tom Robinson and Boo Radley may be seen as mockingbird figures. They do no harm but are persecuted and damaged by ignorance and prejudice. (from notes)


Paragraph 2: The message of courage is conveyed.

-          The message of courage is show thoroughly throughout the novel in such examples Mr Dubose not using pain killers, and dying, Scout resisting to fight, Jem not bragging to everyone about Atticus being the best gun man in Maycomb, Atticus Defending Tom Robinson, Atticus letting Calpurnia discipline his children, When Bob Ewell Spits in Atticus’s Face, Boo Radley Fixing Jem’s pants, Scout stepping up to confront the mob, Boo saving Scout and Jem from Mr Ewell and Atticus kills the dog


Paragraph 3 : The message of prejudice is conveyed.

-          Atticus makes his thoughts clear throughout the book. Despite the general racist attitudes in the town, he defends Tom because he believes Tom innocent and deserves justice. Atticus teaches his children that the worst thing a white person can do is to take advantage of a black man, and he discourages Scout from using the "N" word. But, Atticus realizes things will not change in Maycomb overnight, or even during his lifetime. He only hopes that Tom's trial will be a start, "the shadow of a beginning."

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