Good And Evil: "How to Kill A Mockingbird"

Essay by matrixhunter June 2006

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Good and evil go hand in hand. The relationship between good and evil can be seen in the Bible, through the stories of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel. The correlation between good and evil is seen throughout history, through medians such as literature and the media. Neither good nor evil can exist without the other. The coexistence of good and evil is portrayed in Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird" when the characters of Jem, Dill and Scout come across good and evil through Maycomb society.

Jem is placed in situations where he is exposed to both good and evil in Maycomb. This is shown when Jem encounters good and evil through the closing of the knothole, the jury's unjust verdict, and Mrs. Dubose. Jem is portrayed as a more mature character in this book but there are many instances in which he shows his ignorance to the evil in Maycomb.

Jem is exposed to evil when Nathan Radley plugs the knothole with cement. Jem feels that, in a way, Nathan Radley is breaking the only connection between Boo and the children. The reader can see that the cementing of the knothole really affects Jem in the following quote, "When [the children] went in the house [Scout] had seen [that] [Jem] had been crying" (Lee pg. 63). The closing of the knothole is perhaps the first time Jem realizes that Maycomb is not the perfect town he has always perceived it as, because it has both good and bad. Jem starts to understand that there is a lot more going on in Maycomb than what is seen on the outside. Another example of Jem's exposure to the good and evil in Maycomb society is seen when the jury convicts Tom Robinson. Jem's reaction reveals his emotions, as...