To Kill a Mockingbird Theme of Morality and Ethics
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Atticus thinks that everyone deserves a fair trial. Maycomb thinks that only white men do. Scout thinks that her father is right. Maycomb thinks that her father is wrong. So, who's more moral—the community standard, or the individual conscience? Where do the rights of the community end and the rights of the individual begin? To Kill a Mockingbird examines the conflict between the individual and the community. On the one hand, standing up for your beliefs can get you into a lot of trouble. But if your beliefs are moral, then you just might end up dragging the whole community in a more satisfactory direction. After all, a community's morals are the sum of what its individuals believe.
Questions About Morality and Ethics
- What do individual characters in the novel base their ideas of right and wrong on?
- How does the community work to enforce collective standards of morality? Where do those collective standards come from?
- What moral principles does the novel suggest are desirable? Does anything in the novel undermine these moral principles? Are there times when the novel appears to be hypocritical?
- Does Bob Ewell have bad morals or no morals? What's the difference?
Chew on This
Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.
Atticus presents himself as morally consistent—the same at home as on the streets—but really he has two moral systems: one for himself (based on a strict moral code); and one for others (based on sympathetic understanding).
While the novel in general presents honesty as a virtue, it also suggests that honesty is not always the best policy.
Moral and Physical Courage in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
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To Kill A Mockingbird , is a fictional novel, written by Harper Lee, that make connections to historical events including her life in the 1930’s and the Civil Rights Movement in the 50’s and 60’s. To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that shows both moral and physical courage throughout the book. The narrator, Scout, is a six year old girl who lives with her brother Jem and dad, Atticus Finch, who is a lawyer in Maycomb County, who is chosen to defend a black man who is accused of raping Mayella Ewell the daughter of Tom Ewell. Scout and Jem have a best friend named Dill who visits every summer. They are always daring each other to Boo Radley’s house. Boo Radley is a mysterious man, who never comes out of his house, and in the end is the…show more content…
Atticus Finch, is the father of Jem and Scout. He is a lawyer for Monroeville, Alabama. Harper Lee’s dad, a lawyer in Monroeville, was a former newspaper editor and proprietor and served as a state senator.(kirjasto.sci.fi/harperle.htm) Harper Lee had written To Kill A Mockingbird , which is based on events during Harper Lee’s life. Both blacks and whites had suffered setbacks in the 1930’s.(Moss,391) Cotton prices fell and stayed low for several years.(Moss,391) Whites believed they were superior to all blacks. Towns were organized by skin color, and class structure was based on income and achievements. In TKAM, the Cunningham’s were very poor, and never took money from anybody. They had repaid people by giving them crops they had grown on their farm. Jim Crow Laws was a racial caste system with a series of anti-rigid black laws(David). Some laws were, whites were allowed to beat black, white and blacks were not allowed to eat together. Also, there was a lot of segregation and prejudice people. Newspapers and magazines were stereotyping blacks, calling them names and even children’s board games were portrayed as blacks being inferior beings.(Pilgrim) Many people believe that Harper Lee had based the Tom Robinson trial, on the Scottsboro trial. In The Scottsboro trial 9 boys had allegedly raped 2 white woman on a train.(Johnson) The nine boys were found guilty and were sentenced to death, they had a retrial but