Coexistence of Good and Evil in the Novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

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The novel “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee is a compelling and influential aspect of the coexistence of good and evil within the individual and society. It enables the readers to observe the means in which Atticus Finch endeavors and strives to fight against society as an individual through the characters, style and context. It captivates me as a reader to feel and be aware of the rooted meaning and significance of the innocence as well as the morals throughout the book.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is a vigorous sentiment on the coexistence of good and evil within the individual and society. Although the complex concepts, it allows the readers to witness the prejudice determining what is good and what is evil with the lawyer Atticus Finch. It intrigues me as a reader as it demonstrates the morals and reviewed innocence of his beliefs that are deeply entrenched through the entire book. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” is a famous line by Atticus and is continuously mentioned and referenced throughout the book. It mirrors the ways he believes he should live and enables him to ignore and as an individual challenge the prejudice against his morals fought by the rest of society. “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” The idea of breaking the prejudice as individuals are deeply imbedded in Atticus’s views as he continuously resists the inequality and unspoken truth that society is trying to uphold. He knows and sticks to his beliefs and guides himself with these thoughts in mind, remembering to remain true to himself and ultimately breaking the barriers society tries to keep him in. Atticus foreshadows the events of injustice soon to unfold, “Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mocking.” A mockingbird is a symbol of innocence as they mean no harm and share their gifts of song. However, later the innocence is gone when the mockingbird is killed, in which Atticus strived to protect. Tom Robinson is the mockingbird; Atticus fought to secure and strive for his rights as he believed himself that the prejudice against him within society was a sign of injustice due to inequality of good and evil.

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Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” has an extraordinary variety of unique ways in which she writes. Her style consists of portraying the views of the audience through a child’s eye and captivates me as a reader to read the book thinking about her different styles as well as the ways in which she uses the views of a child mixed with adult events. Scout is Atticus’ daughter as well as the narrator and depicts the story of Tom Robinson through her views and thoughts. Harper Lee writes about her views as an adult of her childhood through the eyes of Scout, a child that is naïve and has an innocent viewpoint of the prejudice of society and the coexistence of good and evil. “I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem… said it started long before that”. Scout at the beginning of the book is still young and often is given advice by Jem and Atticus. The way she thinks is constantly developing as she grows up with her childlike innocence gradually changing. Scout is slowly become aware of the complications that Atticus is facing, however, because of her being a child, the readers are only able to interpret what Scout understands. “I reckon if he’d wanted us to know it, he’da told us.” This is indirectly implying not only information about Jem as a character but is also unveiling the southern vernacular and informal language. Harper Lee has used slang words such as “reckon” as a way of revealing information on the social classes in which each character is placed in society. There is a consistent change in the vocabulary language solely depending on which character is talking. Jem still being young speaks predominantly informal, however as he grows older, he matures more revealing his better understanding and use of slightly more formal language. “That’s a lie. Aunty said God drops ‘em down the chimney. At least that’s what I think she said.” The childlike narrative has been added as humor, but to also apprise the readers on the scarce amount of awareness that Scout has on what’s happening around her. Due to her being very young, Harper Lee repeatedly captured the sense of innocence of her views through a child’s eye as well as further using innocence to show the coexistence of good and evil of society and individuals.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is a phenomenal novel that views the coexistence of good and evil within the individual and society. It is set during the 1930s where not only had the Great Depression and World War 2 started, but it was the time of the Jim Crow era where society had set laws that discriminated against African Americans depriving them of all their rights. Amid these crises was Harper Lee who was born in a southern US state, Alabama which is comparable to Maycomb. “To Kill A Mockingbird is one of those rare books that expose some of the worst aspects of human nature such as cruelty, bigotry, hypocrisy, and racism in a way that not only allows the reader to realize the depth of these human failings and the pain and destruction they cause but also provides some insights into how people can be capable of the worst–and the best” (Jacqueline Tavernier-Courbin, 2007). The concepts of the individual and society within the coexistence of good and evil according to this article, displays the message that was neglected during the Jim Crow era which revealed how society had emphatically forced laws to control the African Americans who had newly become free from slavery.

Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a fascinating aspect of the coexistence of good and evil within the individual and society. It stimulates and encourages the readers to witness Atticus Finch as an individual contends against the views of society and the ways in which he fights for his morals and the innocence of others through the characters, style, and context. It fascinates me as a reader to see the significance and meaning throughout the book and to feel the views that challenge society as individuals.

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Coexistence of Good and Evil in the Novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“Coexistence of Good and Evil in the Novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022,
Coexistence of Good and Evil in the Novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
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