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To Kill a Mockingbird Essay

Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Black people, Harper Lee / Pages: 4 (831 words) / Published: Mar 25th, 2012
To Kill a Mockingbird Essay
Justice is the most strongly explored theme in To Kill a Mockingbird. Many themes are incorporated in the novel; however Harper Lee puts emphasis on the particular theme of justice. From a young, innocent perspective, the reader is given the unbiased observations of a judgemental community. Justice is the most powerful theme in the novel because it is still so relevant in modern society and there will always be a continuous cycle of issues debatable in justice.
The Tom Robinson case of To Kill a Mockingbird represented the social injustice directed toward black people. A quote spoken by Atticus, “In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.”(p 243) demonstrates that Tom Robinson was very much a victim of this society. Negros were treated unfairly, socially and morally, but like how Atticus puts it, it was just a fact of life. A black man could be falsely accused by a white even though he did nothing wrong. This brings up the concept of “killing a mockingbird” which is a recurring motif in the novel. Just like a mockingbird, Tom Robinson was innocent and harmless. This goes on to show the injustice against black people expressed in the Tom Robinson case.
Atticus Finch’s belief that all humans are equal drove him to defend Tom Robinson. Even though he was more than certain that Tom Robinson would lose the case because of his skin colour, Atticus defended him because he believed that everyone was equal and that people should not be judged by the colour of their skin but by their character. “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.”(p 35) was quoted by Atticus. As a lawyer, Atticus fought for justice and equality for a living. However, it was evident from the beginning that Mayella Ewell was going to win the court case simply because she was white. The case of Tom Robinson shows that justice was never meant to be for a black man. Negros were powerless because the judicial system didn’t regard them as citizens.
Mr Underwood is often described as a racist man, a man prejudged against blacks; however he doesn’t let that cloud his sense of judgement. Mr Underwood respects Atticus for what he believes in and admires him for fighting for justice. Both Atticus and Mr Underwood are against injustice and they prove to be allies. Prior to the court case, Tom Robinson is moved to jail. Atticus is concerned for Tom because a lynching mob might take him. While Atticus is guarding the jail, a group of men arrive and demand Atticus to move away from the jail door. However, Mr Underwood defends Atticus with a gun and the mob soon leaves. In his editorial, concerning the death of Tom Robinson, he writes, “It was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting, or escaping.” (p265) He compared Tom’s death to “the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters.” (p 265). This again brings up the concept of killing a mockingbird and that justice is always an issue in society.
Atticus had always told his children that it was a sin to kill a mockingbird. Bob Ewell has always loathed Negros but he took more hatred on Tom Robinson. Although Tom was shot in jail, Bob Ewell still wanted revenge from Atticus because he defended Tom. He did this by attempting to threaten, even kill, Atticus’s children. Jem and Scout are attacked by Bob Ewell and as a consequence, Jem gets injured. However, Boo Radley steps in and saves the day by killing Bob Ewell. Boo Radley, like Tom Robinson, is considered as one of the main “mockingbirds” in the novel. Boo Radley is innocent and incredibly sympathetic, yet everyone despises him. They don’t bother others and just want to live in peace. Jem, Scout nor Boo had done anything wrong so by killing Bob Ewell, it was a form of justice. It was poetic justice for virtue finally triumphed vice. Justice finally won at the end. It was a hard-fought battle.
In conclusion, justice was the most deeply explored theme in To Kill a Mockingbird. Social injustice was very much in place in society during the early 1900’s. The judicial system didn’t consider Negros as citizens. They were being punished as a consequence because of their colour, even if they were innocent. They were symbolised by mockingbirds, for mockingbirds were sweet and harmless. Those fighting for equality and justice, like Atticus, were often targeted. But look at our society today. Negros are accepted as human beings and now have equal rights as whites. But we can never live in a perfect world, but every day we are fighting for justice, fighting for a better place. Justice is worth fighting for.

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