What can we conclude about Harper Lee's view of human nature from To Kill a Mockingbird?I need a statement describing the view of Human Nature throughout the book To Kill a Mockingbird. If you...

What can we conclude about Harper Lee's view of human nature from To Kill a Mockingbird?

I need a statement describing the view of Human Nature throughout the book To Kill a Mockingbird. If you could provide points that prove the statement that would be awesome. 

Thanks so much!

Expert Answers
e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When people are willing to learn, tremendous growth is possible in the areas of moral sense, perception, and integrity. This is one of the central comments on human nature expressed in the novel. 

The notion of growth in moral sense is articulated through the children, Jem and Scout, as well as through the example of Atticus Finch. This is especially true regarding the emphasis Atticus places on choice both when speaking to his children and in his own life in Maycomb. 

Atticus's own actions in arguing the Robinson case demonstrate this kind of courage, and his behavior throughout embodies values of dignity, integrity, determination, and tolerance.

Atticus is as fully a part of the community as anyone else, yet he has chosen against certain prejudices and weaknesses that characterize some citizens of Maycomb. 

Atticus corrects the behavior of Jem and Scout when they act against his code of conduct. Specifically, he imbues his children with the idea that empathy is very important for the establishment of an integral moral perspective. One must walk in another person's shoes before passing judgement. 

Scout and Jem internalize this edict and make great strides in the development of their own moral perspectives. Before meeting Boo Radley, Atticus has led both children to understand that they were wrong to believe the rumors about the reclusive man. 

By the end of the novel, however, eight-year-old Scout has learned a measure of restraint, primarily through the influence and example of her father Atticus.

Not everyone is prepared to learn, however. This is the darker side of Harper Lee's commentary. Despite Atticus Finch's assertion that Bob Ewell will soon drop his anger toward Atticus, Ewell stubbornly continues in his enmity. 

Enraged at having lost what little position he once held in the town, Ewell refuses to let go of his anger. His pettiness and ignorance are shown to be permanent parts of his character. Ewell is unwilling to learn or to grow.

He remains a liar, a bully and a coward to the end, standing as a direct contrast to Atticus Finch, who hopes and believes that all people will be (or should be) reasonable and honorable given a chance. 


chocolatekirby007 | Student

Harper Lee makes a number of suggestions towards human nature and prejudice - particularily prejudice through lack of experiece. For this point you could include:

- At the end when Scout realises she has made assumptions about Arthur Radley without ever meeting him or seeing him even

- In the court case, when Bob Ewell accuses Tom Robinson of rape simply due to his race, despite having no real negative experiences with Negroes.

- When Scout and Dill meet Mr Raymond and he educated them on society and the assumptions they make without any prior knowledge FROM EXPERIENCE

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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