Good and evil. The source of the each begins within every one of us, deep down we all know what is right and what is wrong. As humans we seek the easy way; however this easy way is not always the moral path. To Kill a Mockingbird explores the belief that good and evil exist in all of us. Somewhere in the path of our life we begin to creep from purity to the corruption of our consciences with each of us falling between those two extremes. We all rely on people like Atticus Finch to carry the burden of doing what is right.
To Kill a Mockingbird strives to sort out good from evil and what our human tendencies are when confronted with ethical choices between the two. For those people who are innocent in all their heart, they may find evil sprung upon them. This is certainly the case with Boo Radley and even Tom Robinson. Tom who helped Mayella Ewell out of pure pity was charged with rape because she needed a scapegoat to escape the public judgment and harassment that ensued when she made advances on a black man.
Tom was thrown from being a farmer supporting a family, to a convicted criminal in no time at all; he was so distressed with his poor chances of being released, that once in prison he found his only option was to try and escape. The guards said they fired warning shots, but undoubtedly fired at him as soon as he hit that fence, ripping his body apart with each of the 17 pulls of the trigger. While Tom was thrust into evil, Boo you could say stepped in its way.
As Scout and Jem returned home after the play, little did they know that they were being stalked by evil itself. Luckily for them they were being watched over by goodness too, Arthur watched them from the shadows and stepped in, defending them from Bob Ewell. With this action he fully knew what it meant, he could have quite possibly been thrown out of his safe and comfortable life as a shut in, and been out as a hero. However, in a stroke of luck, a second act of good came about that night.
Heck Tate the sheriff, sought to protect the savior of the children by blaming the death of Bob Ewell on a fatal trip and accident. As the story progresses and we see more and more of the ways we as Humans can bring each other down and the effects they have on the children growing up around it. Jem begins to lose his faith in the human persona and our justice system, as well as simply questioning the integrity of those around him.
Scout, on the other hand begins to mature and take her father’s words as more than just comfort, realizing the value of having a parent like Atticus. As the story comes to a close Scout transforms to Jean Louise as she gazes out across from a new viewpoint, one rarely seen, that of Arthur Radley. To Kill a Mockingbird brings up problems that have existed since the dawn of time. It also surfaces bigotry, economic hardships, and growing up in an ever changing world. When Judge John Taylor brings Atticus the case of defending Tom Robinson, Atticus accepts.
The popular view point of a white man in the 1930’s was to let the case slip away, simply show up to the court but make no attempts at saving a black man’s life. Atticus was no everyday white man; he always sought to teach his children right from wrong, as any parent would. But Atticus Finch taught them what was right, beyond what was accepted practice, and he could never live with himself if he did not make an attempt at saving Tom Robinson. Atticus was Tom’s last defense against the evil in this world, evil in the form of a cowardly jury, a town drunk and a lonely girl.
Every single person on that jury knew who was innocent in Tom Robinson’s case, but every single person on that jury also knew the southern mentality of the day, and what happened to those who dared to oppose it. Good and evil was a common thread amongst the complex tapestry that was brought from To Kill a Mockingbird, able to be traced to every section of the book. In the book good men like Atticus Finch and Heck Tate sought to protect those like Arthur Radley and Tom Robinson from the evils of the world in the shape of Bob Ewell and the shameful crowdedness of the town’s jury.