What are examples of each—injustice, evil, and hypocrisy—in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Injustice:

  1. Tom Robinson becomes a victim of racial injustice after he is wrongly convicted of assaulting and raping Mayella Ewell simply because he is a black man.
  2. Scout gets into trouble during her family's Christmas gathering when she punches Francis in the mouth for calling her father a "nigger-lover."...

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Injustice:

  1. Tom Robinson becomes a victim of racial injustice after he is wrongly convicted of assaulting and raping Mayella Ewell simply because he is a black man.
  2. Scout gets into trouble during her family's Christmas gathering when she punches Francis in the mouth for calling her father a "nigger-lover." Scout had every right to hit her cousin but was unjustly punished by her Uncle Jack before he knew the full story.
  3. Dolphus Raymond has a negative reputation throughout town and is viewed with contempt by his racist community members because he associates with black people. Dolphus lives as an outcast in his community, which makes him a victim of injustice.

Evil:

  1. Bob Ewell's threatening Helen Robinson and attempting to murder Jem and Scout are prominent examples of evil. Bob Ewell attacking the innocent Finch children following the Halloween festival is arguably the most heinous crime in the novel.
  2. Mayella and Bob's false testimonies during the Tom Robinson trial, which result in Tom's wrongful conviction, can be described as evil. The Ewells realize that they are essentially ending a man's life in order to save face and cover up Mayella's taboo act of tempting a black man, yet they continue to lie on the witness stand.
  3. The fact that Tom Robinson was shot seventeen times as he was attempting to scale the fence surrounding Enfield Prison Farm illustrates the evils of racial prejudice. Atticus even mentions that there was no need to shoot the man seventeen times, and Mr. Underwood feels that it is a sin to kill "cripples."

Hypocrisy:

  1. Scout's teacher Miss Gates illustrates her hypocrisy by claiming that there is no prejudice in the United States. However, Scout witnessed Miss Gates herself making racist comments following the Tom Robinson trial.
  2. Scout witnesses overt hypocrisy during her aunt's missionary circle as the ladies gossip and criticize Atticus for defending a black man while pretending to be morally upright Christians.
  3. Aunt Alexandra illustrates her hypocritical nature by claiming that the Finches are better than most of the citizens in Maycomb. However, Atticus is quick to point out that their family history is tainted by racism, insanity, and inbreeding.
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INJUSTICE

  • Boo Radley.  The rumors that fly around Maycomb about Boo Radley are mostly untrue, and the children decide that the reason Boo decides to stay inside his house is "because he wants to stay inside." (Chapter 23)
  • The Jury Verdict.  It is obvious from the testimony given and from Tom's crippled left arm that he could not have possibly committed the crimes for which he is charged. The jury, however, has made up its mind before the trial begins. As Atticus told his brother, Jack, long before the trial,

"The only thing we've got is a black man's word against the Ewells'. The evidence boils down to you-did--I-didn't. The jury couldn't possibly be expected to take Tom Robinson's word against the Ewells.  (Chapter 9)

  • Aunt Alexandra.  Scout is never allowed to bring Walter Cunningham Jr. over to play because of her aunt's doctrine that "he--is--trash, that's why."  (Chapter 23)

EVIL

  • Bob Ewell.  Bob is the single most evil character in the novel. His lies get Tom Robinson killed, and then he turns his evil intentions toward murdering Jem and Scout.
  • The Lynch Mob.  The group of men who confront Atticus in front of the jail come to kill Tom Robinson, but Scout's innocent conversation with Mr. Cunningham changes their minds.
  • Dolphus Raymond.  The children consider Dolphus "an evil man" because he lives with Negroes, has "mixed chillun," and weaves about Maycomb drinking from a bottle hidden by a paper sack. But Scout and Dill find out differently.

I had a feeling I shouldn't be here listening to this sinful man who had mixed children and didn't care who knew it, but he was fascinating.  (Chapter 20)

HYPOCRISY

  • The Missionary Circle.  The ladies of the Missionary Circle meet under the guise of charitable good intentions, but Scout soon finds that the ladies don't practice what they preach. Scout decides that she prefers the company of men because

... they weren't--
     "Hypocrites... born hypocrites."  (Chapter 24)

  • Miss Gates.  Scout decides that Miss Gates' opinions about Hitler and his treatment of the German Jews don't add up: She remembers overhearing a conversation between her teacher and Miss Stephanie in which Miss Gates denounces Maycomb's Negroes. 
  • Miss Caroline.  Scout's first grade teacher pretends to be concerned about the children, but her system of teaching and her own self-importance proves to be foremost in her thinking.
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Evil: That would be Bob Ewell. A lazy, abusive, vicious, lying racist. He has absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever. He gets his daughter to lie about being raped by Tom Robinson. This leads directly to Tom's wrongful conviction and subsequent death. Bob Ewell saw the trial of Tom Robinson as a golden opportunity to present himself as a hero rather than the inadequate nobody he really is. Although Tom is convicted, it is despite Bob Ewell making a complete fool of himself on the witness stand.

Hypocrisy: Where to start? The best example in the book is provided by the ladies of Aunt Alexandra's missionary circle. They claim to be concerned for the wellbeing of a remote African tribe while expressing racist opinions about African Americans in Maycomb with almost the same breath.

Injustice: The wrongful conviction of Tom Robinson for the rape and assault of Mayella Ewell is the most glaring instance of injustice in the whole book. There isn't a single shred of evidence to suggest that Tom has committed such a crime, but because of the prevailing racial prejudice, a black man accused of raping a white woman is considered guilty before he's even set foot inside a court room.

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There are many examples of these three terms in To Kill a Mockingbird. The single most evil character in the novel is Bob Ewell, whose loathsome life offers no positive aspects whatsoever. He is a man who neglects his children, beats his daughter, accuses an innocent man of a capital crime that causes his death, and attempts to murder Jem and Scout. Hypocrisy can be found in many of the women in the story. Scout's teachers are guilty of this, particularly Miss Gates, who professes her contempt for Hitler's treatment of the Jews, but whose own opinion of Maycomb's Negroes does not differ greatly from Hitler's own hatred. The ladies of the Missionary Circle sympathize with the Mruna tribe in Africa, but not with their own black neighbors in Maycomb. Injustice abounds in Maycomb: Boo Radley is unjustly accused of crimes of which he is innocent; the jury disregards the facts presented to them and convicts Tom Robinson, who has been falsely charged with the rape of a white woman; Negroes are routinely discriminated against; men like Atticus and Dolphus Raymond are scorned for being "nigger-lovers"; and children and women are regarded as second-class citizens.

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