Good Vs. Evil: To Kill A Mocking Bird

836 words - 3 pages

“The battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.” This quote by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn embodies the most important theme displayed in To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee’s historical fiction is set during the Great Depression and follows the life of a young girl named Scout Finch and her brother Jem as they grow up and learn the ways of the world. Two of the novels other main characters are used throughout to illustrate this idea of good vs. evil. The contrast between Atticus Finch and Bob Ewell is used to explore the morality of human beings and poses the question: “Are people naturally good or naturally evil?”
First, Lee shows the difference in intelligence and work ethic between Atticus and Bob Ewell. Atticus Finch is an educated, highly intellectual man who works for the state. “Atticus met [Scout and Jem’s mother] when he was first elected to the state legislature.” (7) We know he has formal schooling because you must be educated to be elected to most offices. Atticus is hard working, and his job helps the community therefore they value him, whereas the town often comment on how they haven't seen the Ewell’s do one honest day of work. Bob Ewell is an ignorant drunk who has eight kids and no job. His intellectual capacity is nowhere near that of Atticus Finch’s. Judge Taylor is forced to read the riot act to the spectators in the courtroom following Bob Ewell's accusation and “The judge cautioned Bob, too, but Mr. Ewell reminded [Scout] of a deaf-mute. [She] was sure he had never heard the words that Judge Taylor directed at him.” (233) Bob Ewell can’t comprehend half of what people say to him and isn’t very intelligent. Because of this contrast in intellectual capacity, Atticus and Bob are on very different levels of understanding, which is sure to create conflict sooner or later.
Lee also shows Atticus’s love for his children in comparison to Bob Ewell, who is not a family man. Atticus takes care of Jem and Scout, showing them the importance of education and teaching them life lessons and morals. “If you'll concede the necessity of going to school, we'll go on reading every night just as we always have. Is it a bargain?” (41) To make sure Scout goes to school and to assuage her fears of no longer being able to read with her father, Atticus makes this bargain. It shows how much he cares, loves, and protects his children. Ewell on the...

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