What are the major conflicts in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The two major conflicts in To Kill a Mockingbird also concern the two main plots of the novel: the trial of Tom Robinson and the repercussions that affect Atticus and his family; the story of Boo Radley and the Finch children's attempts to make contact with him. A major conflict of the Robinson trial relates to Atticus decision to defend Tom, an African-American accused of raping a white woman. Atticus knows that defending Tom will bring trouble for him and his kids, but he takes the case because he knows Tom will not receive a fair defense from anyone else. Bob Ewell's reaction to his treatment on the witness stand causes more problems to those who opposed him.

Jem and Scout have mixed emotions about Boo Radley. They are frightened of him early in the novel, but they can't resist the temptation to get a peak at him. Even after Atticus warns them to leave Boo alone, they are still enthralled with the idea of meeting him. From the gifts they receive from Boo, the children finally realize that he is a caring, kindly man--a fact that Scout discovers for herself when Boo saves her life in the final chapters.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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