Essay about Good and Evil in To Kill a Mockingbird

Essay about Good and Evil in To Kill a Mockingbird

Length: 1470 words (4.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Growing up happens during the magical times of freedom given to children in their early years. Wise parents discern when freedom is necessary for their children, are very clear about their expectations, and determine fitting consequences for actions out of line. Harper Lee personifies this role of a wise and caring parent in the father figure of her novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch, a character made to mirror the author’s own father, is a lawyer and a well-respected citizen of his Southern Alabama town. Through Atticus, Harper Lee establishes a standard of good and evil, developing the theme of morality during his interactions. Atticus establishes right from wrong in most every relationship, especially with his children, his friends and family, and his occupational ties. These relationships come to the reader filtered through the childlike lens of Scout Finch, Atticus’s young daughter, as she begins to encounter the weighty topics of the adult world.
The parenting techniques that Atticus employs for Scout and her older brother Jem seem, at first blush, to lack the necessary structure that his children need to learn proper manners. This may partially be due to his work obligations, and the fact that his wife died which Scout was only a baby. Instead of their mother, his colored house maid and cook, Calpurnia, is a positive influence on the children and maintains order in the home. His sister, Aunt Alexandra, is critical of this parenting approach. She is especially particular about making Scout into a lady, declaring that Scout “wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants” and that she should “behave like a sunbeam” to brighten her father’s lonely life (Lee 81). Men and women like Aunt Alexandra who hold the ...


... middle of paper ...


...fore reprimanding them, and treats his neighbors--even the seemingly odd ones like Boo Radley and Mrs. Dubose--and his clients, black folks included, in the same manner. Even though his own sister is preoccupied with distinguishing the Finch family from similar or slightly poorer people, Atticus remains stedfast in his convictions. He always tries to see the good in others, although he knows man’s tendency toward evil all too well. Atticus keeps hope throughout his life, always reminding his children to keep a positive attitude by not worrying when troubles come their way. By her father’s great influence, Scout finds, at the close of the story, that her father was right all along: the best way to interact with others is to treat all people with kindness and respect. Atticus serves as an accurate standard of good and evil indeed.



Works Cited

To Kill a Mockingbird

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about The State of Man: An Analysis of the Inherently Good Nature of Man

- Good and evil are two of the most ambiguous terms in the English language. There are definite themes of good and evil throughout Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Most define good as “morally righteous” and evil as “morally wrong or immoral”. These two definitions raise an important question. What is morality. Philosophically, morality can be described as a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons. So, if morality is a code that all rational persons set forward, are immoral people irrational....   [tags: Harper lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Good and Evil]

Powerful Essays
906 words (2.6 pages)

Good Vs. Evil in To Kill a Mockingbird and Macbeth Essay

- Good Vs. Evil in To Kill a Mockingbird and Macbeth In literature, "evil often triumphs but never conquers." By definition, a triumph is only short- term. For example, something short- term would be an achieved title, a victor in a battle, or a winner in a game. These three things are only temporary, as triumphs usually are in novels. By definition, when something is conquered, it remains conquered perpetually. Usually the evil force is unable to conquer, because of the opposite side's mentality....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
923 words (2.6 pages)

Comparing The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck and To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

- “And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quicklime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is a failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath” (Steinbeck 349). John Steinbeck, the author of The Grapes of Wrath, portrays the migrant’s resentment of the California land owners and their way of life and illustrates that the vagrants from Oklahoma are yearning for labor, provisions, and human decency....   [tags: Good vs. Evil]

Powerful Essays
1318 words (3.8 pages)

Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee Essay

- Out of all the books I have read, To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite. When someone told me that this book has been banned in many schools, I am perplexed because it does not seem like a “harmful” book. The author of this book, Harper Lee, elaborated on real-world conflicts, and proved an important point in the storyline: despite Atticus’s efforts and capable defense, Tom Robinson is found guilty. This forces Scout and Jem upon a sad yet true understanding, which is that the morals that Atticus has taught them may not be reconciled with the evils of human nature; there is a coexistence, no matter what....   [tags: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, Atticus Finch]

Powerful Essays
726 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

- To Kill a Mockingbird “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it” (Lee 30). Atticus Finch teaches his children to look at life and people in a different way, and he also practices what he preaches to his children. By focusing on the coexistence of good and evil, the importance of moral education, and the existence of social inequality one could argue to prove these points and how they form the themes of Harper Lee’s, To Kill a Mockingbird....   [tags: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, Atticus Finch]

Powerful Essays
1126 words (3.2 pages)

The Theme of Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird Essay

- One of the widely recognized controversies in American history is the 1930s, which housed the Great Depression and the post-civil war, the ruling of Plessy versus Ferguson and the Jim Crow Laws, and segregation. While textbooks detail the factual aspect of the time there is only one other literature that can exhibit the emotion experienced in the era. To Kill a Mockingbird is the acclaimed novel that displays the experiences of the South, through inequality and segregation, social class differences and the right to fairness....   [tags: To Kill a Mockingbird Essays]

Powerful Essays
2121 words (6.1 pages)

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird Essay

- In the last century, there have certainly been many "greats" - novels, books and stories that impress, amaze and make one think. Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird", however, is unique among all these poignant pieces of literature in that the novel solely develops Lee's idea, brought out by Atticus in the novel, to "...shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" (90). This phrase is expounded by the character Miss Maudie when she says "...mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy....   [tags: To Kill a Mockingbird Essays]

Free Essays
1325 words (3.8 pages)

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee Essay

- At the beginning of the novel, Scout is an innocent, good-hearted five-year-old child who has no experience with the evils of the world. As the novel progresses, Scout has her first contact with evil in the form of racial prejudice, and the basic development of her character is governed by the question of whether she will emerge from that contact with her conscience and optimism intact or whether she will be bruised, hurt, or destroyed like Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. Thanks to Atticus's wisdom, Scout learns that though humanity has a great capacity for evil, it also has a great capacity for good, and that the evil can often be mitigated if one approaches others with an outlook of sympathy...   [tags: To Kill a Mockingbird Essays]

Free Essays
2644 words (7.6 pages)

To Kill a Mockingbird: An Analysis of Discrimination Essay

- To Kill a Mockingbird: An Analysis of Discrimination The most important theme of the 1960 Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird is author Harper Lee’s tenacious exploration of the moral nature of people. Lee tenaciously explores the moral nature of human beings, especially the struggle in every human soul between discrimination and tolerance. The novel is very effective in not only revealing prejudice, but in examining the nature of prejudice, how it works, and its consequences....   [tags: Kill Mockingbird essays]

Powerful Essays
904 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

- To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the town of Maycomb, Alabama. The story is told through the eyes of Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, who is the age of six in the beginning of the tale. She tells the story in sequential order for the period of three summers. Jean Louise ‘Scout’ Finch She narrates the story describing her life between the ages of six and nine.  She is a tomboy and well educated, mainly due to her father, and she has an optimistic view of the world and people around her....   [tags: To Kill a Mockingbird Essays]

Free Essays
687 words (2 pages)