Morality in To Kill A Mockingbird Essay


Some people, rather than listening to what the law says should be done, listen to what their conscience suggests is right or wrong. In To Kill a Mockingbird there are two main people who act as moral compasses in the town of Maycomb, and one person who is definitely the opposite of a moral compass. Atticus and Jean Louise Finch were both excellent examples of moral compasses, because they both showed people the right thing to do, whereas Mayella Ewell did the wrong thing and was not showing the honourable thing to do. Only some people can be a moral compass for others and it takes a great deal of courage to become one.

Atticus Finch not only took the case of a black man, but went against everyones beliefs that black people were lower, and actually tried to defend Tom Robinson from a crime that he was wrongfully accused of doing. As Atticus said, In the name of God believe him. (Lee, 206) It is very clear that Atticus wanted to win the case, get Tom off the hook for something that he did not commit, and probably to show the town of Maycomb just how often black people would get blamed and picked on for things that they undoubtedly did not do.

Jean Louise Finch on the other hand had a more subtle approach to moral behaviour. She had taught her Uncle Jack a few lessons on what the right thing to do was when dealing with fights between people. Jack said, Your daughter gave me my first lessons this afternoon. She said I didnt understand children much and told me why. She was quite right. Atticus, she told me how I should have treated her. (Lee, 87) Scout had told him that you must see both sides of the situation before you decide who is at fault and who to blame for the outcome of the situation. By doing this Scout was able to teach her Uncle Jack a valuable skill that everyone needs in life, which is patience, and not being prejudice towards certain people.

On the other hand, Mayella Ewell went against what she knew was right and accused an innocent man of raping her, when really her father put her up to it. Mayella should have done the moral thing and came clean about what had actually happened and then maybe Tom Robinson would still be alive. It is like what Scout said, It came to me that Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world... white people wouldnt have anything to do with her because she lived among pigs; Negroes wouldnt have anything to do with her because she was white... Tom Robinson was probably the only person who was ever decent to her. But she said he took advantage of her, and when she stood up she looked at him as if he were dirt beneath her feet. (Lee, 191-192) Mayella was a lonely person and when she had finally found someone who was nice to her she just did what her father wanted and accused him.

It takes plenty of bravery and nerves to be a moral compass towards other people. Atticus Finch and Jean Louise Finch were both great moral compasses, but Mayella Ewell did not do the moral and right thing. People who listen to what they believe is right instead of the law and the rules, act as moral compasses towards other people.

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