Joined: 20 March 2006
The novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a social drama about racism. One conflict in the novel is person versus person between the characters Tom Robinson and Mr. Bob Ewell (Lee 74). An additional type of conflict in the novel is person versus society linking Tom Robinson and the citizens in the town, Maycomb County. Moreover, there is a personal conflict explored in the novel, which is person versus self involving the protagonist Scout Finch. Therefore, the conflict in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, illustrates how society is prejudging and discriminating against people who are different.
The conflict of a prejudice society clearly that develops the theme is person vs. person. For instance, Tom Robinson, a black man, who was framed by Mr. Bob Ewell that he raped his daughter, Mayella Ewell ( Lee 74)Tom was found guilty and eventually was shot dead in prison (Lee 235). Afterwards, Mr. Ewell was stabbed by Boo Radley when he attempted to kill Scout and Jem. As Mr. Heck Tate, the sheriff of Maycomb County, said, "Know everything that's here since before I was born. There's a black boy dead for no reason, and the man responsible for it is dead. Let the dead bury the dead this time Mr. Finch. Let the dead bury the dead" (Lee 276). What Mr. Heck Tate meant was that everything happened between Mr. Bob Ewell and Tom Robinson should be left in the past. Moreover the author, Harper Lee chose to develop the theme through this type of conflict of a person vs. person because she is trying to converse with readers that the conflict between Tom and Mr. Ewell is a perfect example of how society is racist towards certain races of people. In conclusion, the conflict, person vs. person develops the theme in the novel.
An additional conflict would be person versus society, which builds up the theme in the novel. For example, in Maycomb County, the residents there are racist to black people and particularly Tom Robinson, who was accused of rape because of his race. Besides, the theme also illustrates how the citizens in Maycomb treated Atticus Finch unfairly because he was defending Tom Robinson (Lee 83). In addition, Tom was found guilty even though there were plenty of evidence that proved he did not committed the crime of raping a white lady (Lee 211).
As Atticus said, "When they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things . . . Atticus, he was real nice. . . ." His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them." He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning (Lee 281).
What Atticus means is that despite power of evil, it is possible to have faith that there are many people out there that are nice and sincere. The author chose this type of conflict to develop the theme because she is trying to show to readers she chose to end the novel by echoing the theme of society being racist and prejudging. All in all, the conflict person versus society build ups the theme in the novel.
Furthermore, another type of conflict that develops the theme is person versus self. Throughout the story, for instance, Scout gradually becomes more mature (Lee 237). In addition, her father, Atticus, teaches her throughout the novel about equality, racism, prejudice, the world can be cruel and society is racist yet there are people out there who tend to be sincere and good hearted.
As Atticus says "Remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. "Your father's right," she said. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." (Lee 90)
In the quote Atticus meant that the idea of mockingbirds are how there are decent and innocent people who are overcome by evil and they do not harm others. The author also chose the conflict, person vs. self, because she is trying to get across the idea of how Scout matures and also learns about equality and how the society is racist and prejudges different people. As a result, person versus self conflict in the novel develops the theme.
In essence, the novel To Kill a Mockingbird discussed many different conflicts. Initially, person versus person conflict develops the idea of how racism can make one person hurt another which leads to society being racist. Person versus society conflict illustrates how racism and prejudice turns people against each other out of hate because of the colour of their skin which indicates that we do live in a racist society where most people tend to prejudge others. Moreover, the personal conflict, person versus self points out how the protagonist Scout learns about prejudice, equality and racism. Thus, the conflict illustrates how society is prejudice in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
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