How does To Kill a Mockingbird portray justice?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In To Kill a Mockingbird's Maycomb, justice is a fleeting thing, and not always served. Tom Robinson certainly receives no justice during his trial and eventual guilty verdict; he is an innocent man who eventually dies behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Boo Radley has been accused of many sordid acts, and he is forced to live his life behind the walls of his family's house. On the other hand, Bob Ewell--the most despised man in town--seems to get away with his crimes. He hunts out of season, neglects his children, drinks up his welfare check, beats his daughter, and sends an innocent black man to prison because of his lies. Still unsatisfied, Bob stalks Tom's widow, prowls about Judge Taylor's house, and threatens harm to Atticus and his family. But for Boo and Bob, justice is eventually served. Bob makes the mistake of attacking Atticus's children while Boo is watching, and Boo turns from ghoul to hero on Halloween night, saving the children and killing Bob in the process. As Sheriff Tate tells Atticus,

     "There's a black boy dead for no reason, and the man responsible for it's dead. Let the dead bury the dead this time, Mr. Finch.
     "... taking the one man whose done you and this town a great service an' draggin' him with his shy ways into the limelight--to me, that's a sin... If it was any other man, it'd be different. But not this man, Mr. Finch.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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