During the mob scene in To Kill A Mockingbird, author Harper Lee uses juxtaposition of light and dark imagery to convey the contrast that exists between good and evil. Through this comparison, the suspenseful and tense mood is portrayed strongly to the reader.
Throughout the scene, dark shadows are vividly associated with the theme of evil, and the mob. The first evidence that clearly builds suspense about the mob is “shadows became substance as lights revealed solid shapes…” (202). This quote server to keep the readers mind thinking about how the mob might actually look. Since Harper Lee leaves a neutral expression on the mobs faces, the reader can make their own interpretation on the mobs facial expression, and how they look. Solid shapes may also be a sign of evil or harmful beings since there are not any physical features associated to the body. By saying the bodies were dark solid shapes, a suspenseful mood is made and portrayed to the reader.
As the tense mood arises throughout the mob scene, Scout, Jem and Dill decide to go help out Atticus. “I pushed myself through dark smelly bodies and burst into the circle of light.” (203). In this part of the scene, innocent Scout pushes her way through the dark mob, finding herself in a circle of light with Atticus. The dark mob, and the circle of light in which Atticus sits, makes a very distinct barrier of good and evil. Atticus being the “good guy” sits and guards his defendant Tom Robinson in the circle of light while the dark smelly bodies of the mob plan to murder them both. Having both sides with different opinions, intentions and colour description, portrays the tense mood.
The final evidence from the mob scene that displays a contrast of good and evil is when Atticus, Scout, Jem and Dill leave the dangerous mob. “As they passed under a streetlight, Atticus reached out and massaged Jem’s hair, his one gesture of affection.” (207) This quote shows a reappearing sign of hope and goodness. Even though Atticus demanded Jem and the others to go back home (for their own good), without being successful, Atticus still loves his boy and cares for him. Harper Lee purposefully shows Atticus’s sign of kindness to demonstrate that light is a symbol of kindheartedness and morality.
In conclusion, Harper Lee creates a moment of tension and suspense in To Kill A Mockingbird during the mob scene through the juxtaposition of the ominous threat of the dark elements upon the light.