Good vs. evil is at the core of many plots of movies, books, shows or plays, and is the basis of many conflicts around the world and in history. But what happens when something is both good and evil, in the same thing? This is shown in the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In the book, the main character, Scout, is a young girl growing up in the post-civil war South, in the state of Alabama. Throughout the story as Scout grows up, she encounters many events that seem wrong to her but acceptable to other, older, people. Through things such as racism, accused rape, and attempted murder, along with the experiences of growing up in a southern state, Harper Lee uses the black-and-white thinking and storytelling of a child to illustrate to readers just how good and evil can co-exist in people and in this world.
To begin, there are many people Scout encounters growing up that Harper Lee uses in the story to create a sense of good and ...view middle of the document...
It turns out that Mrs. Dubose was a morphine addict, and Jim was helping her break her addiction to the drug. After she died, Atticus tells Jim that she was “the bravest person I ever knew”. Jim cannot understand this, because she was such a mean and racist person, and this doesn’t make sense to him that these values could be in the same person. This is put in the book by Harper Lee to show as an example to northern readers how someone can be racist, but can still be a good person. Harper Lee also uses certain characters as a direct representation of good, evil or innocence. For example, Atticus is a direct example of good and morality, while Bob Ewell is a direct example of evil and racism. Throughout the book, Atticus understands how people can be both good and evil, which Jim and Scout cannot understand this as children, seeing everything as black and white, or anyone as good or evil only. Therefore, Jim and Scout cannot understand how people can be racist and still be good people, while Atticus understands this. Overall, Harper Lee uses these people and representations to show how people can have some bad and wrong qualities in them, but still be good people.
Another way Harper Lee shows how good and evil can coexist is through the storytelling of a kid. In the beginning of the book, Scout is 6 years old, and by the end of the book, she is 8. Since the book is told from a first-person view, this means that the book is written from the view of a kid, and therefore will have the understanding and ideas of a kid in it. One of the most influential of these understandings is a kid’s “black and white” view of how the world works. For example, when Scout is in school and a kid brings up Hitler, Scout is confused. She asks the teacher how people can say Hitler is bad for persecuting the Jews, but then turn around and do the same thing to people there. This is an example of how Harper Lee uses a child’s thinking and viewpoint to get people at the time to think about what they were doing. This is also an example of how Harper Lee uses a child’s view to show how people can both be good and do bad things at the same time, relating back to the theme of good and evil coexisting.