What are some examples of injustice and justice in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Examples of justice and injustice can be seen through the experiences of three major characters: Scout, Boo Radley, and Tom Robinson. First, Scout faces injustice from her Aunt Alexandra. It seems as if everything Scout does is not good enough for her Aunt. She explains as follows:

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Examples of justice and injustice can be seen through the experiences of three major characters: Scout, Boo Radley, and Tom Robinson. First, Scout faces injustice from her Aunt Alexandra. It seems as if everything Scout does is not good enough for her Aunt. She explains as follows:

"Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants. . . Aunty said that one had to behave like a sunbeam, that I was born good but had grown progressively worse every year. She hurt my feelings and set my teeth permanently on edge" (81).

Aunt Alexandra deals unjustly with her because she wants Scout to represent the Finch family as a gentlewoman, not a tomboy. As a result, Aunt Alexandra talks behind Scout's back with Atticus, tells her that her friends are trash, and is continually on her case. The worst part is Scout is a child and cannot fight back or really defend herself.

Next, Boo Radley is the big mysterious phantom of Maycomb. As the children get to know him more, they realize that people simply pass along gossip and neighborhood legends for attention and entertainment value without considering the value of the human being they are discussing. For example, Miss Stephanie Crawford spreads tales that Boo Radley roams around at night looking into people's windows. That scares women and children and paints him for a freak. Scout describes how badly Boo's name was tossed around as follows:

"Once the town was terrorized by a series of morbid nocturnal events: people's chickens and household pets were found mutilated; although the culprit was Crazy Addie. . . people still looked at the Radley Place, unwilling to discard their initial suspicions" (9).

Unbeknownst to the town are Boo's real problems, but they sling his name around anyway. Boo is probably mostly shy, if not a little bit slow as well, and Miss Maudie tells Scout that he prefers to stay indoors--end of story. Scout discovers that he's actually a good friend and neighbor, too. Similar to Scout, Boo can't fight back against the injustice that faces him, either.

Finally, there's Tom Robinson, a black man who is caught at the wrong place at the wrong time and sentenced to death for it. Even though Tom had one of the best lawyers in the world to fight against the injustice he faced, the odds were so highly stacked against him that he tried to go at it alone by escaping prison rather than waiting on the appeals process to set him free. Maybe Tom understood more about the injustice that faced him than Atticus had hope in the judicial system. He knew he could never fight the racism in the South, and gave up. 

So where are the examples of justice? It's in Maycomb's future--Jem and Scout. It's in the fact that justice and fair play can be taught, and the good people like Atticus, who value and fight for justice, keep waking up in the morning and going to work. Justice is also found in the help and hope that others give in the wake of injustice. For example, Link Deas takes care of Tom's family after his death by providing his wife Helen with a job. There's justice for Scout and Jem when they are attacked by Bob Ewell and their lives are saved by the most unlikely character in the whole book--Boo Radley. And sometimes justice is kept secret as Heck Tate protects Boo Radley from the spotlight over saving the kids. Rather than take Boo's private lifestyle away from him by advertising what a hero he was that night, he protects it by saying Ewell fell on his knife. The justice, again, is in the future and in the way people help each other weather the injustices found in the storms of life. 

 

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