Conflicts in Harper Lee’s Novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”

  • Write about the conflicts portrayed in the book as the trial unfolds and intensifies.

Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird reveals the central conflict of society and humanity that is represented through Boo’s disagreements with the entire town Maycomb, the conflict between the black accused and the white justice system, Finch’s conflict with his neighbors, and, finally, the conflict between the children and the adult’s world. These conflicts are amplified with the historical period as well as economical and political conditions of that time. The confrontation between Boo and neighboring district of the city are ambiguous and uncertain because the city is never isolated from the outside world, though been separated from it for a long time.

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  • The book is also a commentary on the American system of justice. Atticus’ summation states that “there is one institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal on an Einstein…That institution is…the court” (Lee, 1995, p. 173). Discuss the relevance of this statement today.

The book provides a commentary on the system of law in the United States. Hence, while encountering the constraints in court justice system, Atticus Finch faces contempt on the part of his neighbors who discourage him to defend a black-colored person. Once again, racial issues and stereotypes dominate in making decisions and judgments. Despite that, the attorney is confident in defending a person irrespective of racial affiliation (Lee, 2010, p. 28). He makes the strongest argument concerning the present society whose ideals are not consonant with democratic principles of human rights and equality.

  • Points of view in the courtroom commentary

Tom Robinson seems to be skeptical about the verdict because the prejudiced jury will not allow the black person to win the confrontation with white people

Mayella is afraid of judgment and, therefore, she conceals the truth to avoid accusation. She ignores the fact that Robinson may be sentenced to death.

The judge as well as the jury was reluctant to admit the truth and believe Tom Robinson, an African American.

Scout, Jim and Dill are children are more likely to see the truth because they are less influenced by the external factors. Similarly, the author discloses the defined confrontations through the Scout and Gem’s attitude to the trial. Lee also associates them with a sense of justice and innocence that should be a priority in a democratic society.

Bob Ewell, Mayella’s father and the main antagonist of the novel, is a drunkard who accuses Robinson of raping his daughter. When the verdict is announced, Bob is gleeful about his success and Robinson’s death does not upset him.

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The black citizens standing on the balcony realize that chances to acquit Robinson and set him free jail and capital punishment are insignificant. Nevertheless, they are not able to resist because their rights are restricted in the court and because they are afraid of being condemned by the town.

  • Which of these do you identify with at the trial?

The main purpose of the trial to find out the truth, which means that people are equal in the eye of law and until people fail to see that, justice is nothing more but a reflection of our subjective judgment and prejudices. Therefore, Atticus Finch is the one who is able to see the truth and to find it out. Therefore, his views are the closest to the essence of the trial.

  • One of the salient lessons Scout learns from her father is not to judge others until you’ve walked in their moccasins. How does inhabiting the various characters’ point of view provide depth to the experience of the novel? (Lee is skilled at presenting the complexities of people and situations seen from multiple points of view.)

Lee exposes racial discrimination, social injustice, and prejudice that guide the newly formed society through the emerging conflict between the town and its particular citizens, such as Atticus Finch, Boo Radley, and Tom Robins. The presented disaccord shows that people can be significantly influenced by external factors imposed by bureaucracy, subjectivity, and personal interest, but not by natural laws and human rights.

  • The courtroom drama is an archetypal theme portrayed in novels, films, and television in American literature. Note how this is presented in writing, in anticipation of comparing this to how the courtroom is portrayed in the movie version. Later, you will be asked to comment on which is more effective and why you think so.

In the book, Lee focuses more on the description of the courtroom, including the atmosphere, interior, and people. In the movie, the emphasis is placed on the actions and dialogues because the visual images make it unnecessary to involve the description for the audience to make their own conclusions.


Lee, H. (2010).To Kill a Mockingbird ed H. Bloom. US: InfoBase Publishing.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Conflicts in Harper Lee’s Novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”'. 16 January.

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