What are the best quotes for the theme of the coexistence of good and evil in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several characters who seem to possess both aspects of good and evil. Mayella Ewell is certainly one. Though she is a product of her thoroughly evil father, Bob, Mayella still manages to exhibit some positive traits. She faithfully attends to the children that Bob ignores; she desires friendship so badly that she attempts to seduce Tom Robinson; and she sees the beauty in the geraniums that she proudly displays outside the ramshackle Ewell house. But she has inherited Bob's evil streak, and she is perfectly willing to allow Tom to die for her own mistakes.

I guess if she hadn't been so poor and ignorant, Judge Taylor would have put her under the jail for the contempt she had shown everyone in the courtroom.  (Scout, Chapter 18)

Dolphus Raymond is another character who seems to show characteristics of both good and evil--at least in Scout's mind. Dolphus isn't a bad man, but in 1930s Alabama, a white man who fosters "mixed children" with his black mistress is sure to be considered an outcast. Dolphus does deliberately misconstrue his actions, weaving about the town in what appears to be a drunken stupor while drinking from a bottle hidden in a paper sack. But to Dolphus, it is all in good fun, and he has a purpose: It gives the citizens a reason to blame him for his actions.

     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.  (Scout, Chapter 20)

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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