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What is the basic conflict in To Kill a Mockingbird ?

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keishaaaaa | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:44 PM via iOS

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What is the basic conflict in To Kill a Mockingbird ?

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handbooktoliterature | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 11, 2013 at 3:02 AM (Answer #1)

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There are several conflicts but typically we consider the main character and their journey when finding the "most important" conflict in a novel. In TKAM, this is Scout, and Scout's main conflict is Character v. Society as she is trying to cope with her childhood world changing as she realizes what her society is actually like.

This is seen through her interactions concerning Boo Radley and the trial of Tom Robinson. With Boo Radley, we see his myth and childlike ideas like the Boo Radley game dominate the early part of the novel. The children dare each other to touch the house and make up lies and repeat rumor and gossip about Boo. However, by the end, Scout realizes that Boo is nothing like the stories she has heard and told, but instead, is simply different and withdrawn from the society she finds out has quite an ugly side.

With the trial, Scout and Jem realize that justice isn't always served, and people are not always concerned with right and wrong like their father Atticus, but instead they see people allow their prejudices and ignorance influence their decisions. 

All in all, these issues all come down to a conflict of character v. society.

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