In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, there is an ongoing conflict between written laws, moral laws, and injustice, meaning being judged unfairly. In a perfect world, they all work together but Maycomb County is not a perfect world. The same can be said about any other American city. Atticus Finch teaches his children the importance of written laws, mainly that all people are “innocent until proven guilty”. The social structure of Maycomb, however, encourages another kind of justice, mostly based on the color of your skin. The result in a person of color being treated as guilty, even when he proves that he is innocent. In the beginning of the novel, injustice based on prejudice and fears are unknown of Jem and Scout, as they are only familiar with the rule of written law, which their father practices as a lawyer. Atticus raises Jem and Scout to be “color blind” and see everyone equally, and the written law sees everyone in the same way. However, by the end of the Tom Robinson case, they both come to realize that the court system and juries can ignore written laws.
Throughout the novel, Atticus promotes the necessity and importance of the written law. For example, when Atticus says, “The state has not produced on iota of medical evidence to the effect that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with ever took place. It has relied instead upon the testimony of two witnesses whose evidence has not only been called into serious question on cross-examination, but has flatly been contradicted by the defendant…” (Pg. 203). Although Atticus knows that his client is innocent, he also knows that he must present his case in a way that will not offend the moral values of the jury. Even though Atticus could have used Bob Ewells’ negative past history and bad character against him, he knew the all-white jury is not going to find that believable. Instead, they would think that Atticus was just attacking Bob Ewell’s character since he has no case. Therefore, Atticus...
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