What happens when good and evil come face to face in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The confrontations between good and evil are met with mixed results in To Kill a Mockingbird.

SCOUT VS. FRANCIS.  Scout wins the battle against her conniving Cousin Francis after he repeatedly jeers her with the taunt of "nigger-lover."

     This time, I split my knuckle to the bone on his front teeth.

Winner:  Good

SCOUT VS. THE LYNCH MOB.  Scout wins this battle as well, driving away the potential lynch mob in front of the jail with her innocent chat with Mr. Cunningham--and her flying feet. When one of the men tries to manhandle Jem,

I kicked the man swiftly. Barefooted, I was surprised to see him fall back in real pain. I intended to kick his shin, but aimed too high.

Winner:  Good

THE TRIAL.  Atticus knows he can not win the case, since he understands that no white jury will accept the word of a black man over that of a white man. Although Atticus seems to win his individual confrontation with Bob Ewell, Mayella eventually refuses to answer any more of his questions. In the end, Tom is convicted and the evil intentions of the Ewells win out, convincing the jury to believe their testimony.

Winner:  Evil

ATTICUS VS. BOB.  Atticus takes the high road when Bob confronts him in public, spitting in his face and threatening to kill him. When Bob asks Atticus if he is too cowardly to fight, Atticus nonchalantly tells him

"No, too old."

Winner:  Draw

BOO VS. BOB.  In the climactic finale of the novel, Boo Radley makes his first appearance just in the nick of time, subduing and killing Bob Ewell as he tries to do harm to Jem and Scout.

Winner:  Good

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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