Homework Help

How does Harper Lee show the conflict between good and evil in To Kill a...

user profile pic

gilliand602 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 2, 2010 at 2:02 AM via web

dislike 1 like

How does Harper Lee show the conflict between good and evil in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Good: Atticus , Boo Radley , Tom Robinson

Evil: Bob Ewell , Prejudice white community , Mr Radley(For keeping Boo Locked up)

Give examples of Good V Evil and use Quotations

Put in paragraphs (6 paragraphs ) so that it goes like one paragraph Evil Then one Good then one evil and so on.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted March 2, 2010 at 3:38 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

While I'm happy to provide you with some assistance on this question, you will need to complete it more fully per your teacher's directions, which you have included in the sub-heading of the question itself.

Maycomb is a very black-and-white community, both literally and figuratively speaking. It is against this backdrop that Lee paints a portrait of injustice for us by making our African-American character, Tom, an embodiment of good. That is not to say, however, that some of our other white characters are not good -- Atticus, for instance, represents moral character and rightness in nearly every scene he is in. Boo Radley, the captive son of Nathan Radley, is good, as he proves in the final chapters of this book.

In contrast, we have several characters who show bad character -- either in the form of ignorance, or in the form of outright evil. Bob Ewell, for instance, illustrates both ignorance and evil in this novel, as Atticus proves to the court that he has battered his own daughter, Mayella. Ewell is a racist, as his testimony before the court proves. The white community at large in Maycomb is largely still coming to grips with the idea of civil rights. Mr. Cunningham, for instance, is among the men at the jail the night Atticus blocks the doorway. He is not there out of sheer hatred, but instead, to go along with popular mentality that all negroes are evil and all negroes are "not to be trusted around our women," as Atticus states in his closing arguments. Cunningham's willingness to follow the herd is an example of ignorance rather than explicit evil. Nathan Radley is an embittered old man who hates life because he feels that his son is a social pariah. His evil is one borne of ignorance also. I hope these few facts begin to help you in your quest to complete the writing assignment.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes