English 1 H
15 Dec 2018
It is a common belief that babies are born innocent and pure. They are like an empty book that still have to be written in. However, when a person is born, are they truly innocent? If so, then why do babies cry when they do not get what they want? Why do they fight with their peers when they have to share? Are we all born selfish and bias? One possible theory may be that people only do the right thing because they are afraid of being punished if they are caught. Would this mean that humans are not as just and selfless as we say we are? In the book, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee failed to address these questions. Instead, she created flat, one-sided characters that should appear in a childs fairy tale. Bob Ewell is the Big Bad Wolf while Atticus is the lumberjack who saves Little Red Riding Hood. Harper Lee paints an unrealistic fantasy of a world where good and evil is carved into stone and disregarded the true nature of the human race.
To begin with, Harper Lee portrayed the character Bob Ewell as an evil man with no morals. In the story, Bob Ewell was the father of a family the Maycomb citizens have deemed as a disgrace to the town. Regarded as the trash of Maycomb, Bob Ewell lived in a broken-down shack that used to be an African-American cabin. Bob had no intent on improving his life, nor did he had any meaning to feed his eight motherless children. Instead, he used his welfare checks to satiate his thirst for whiskey and his children as an excuse for his poaching. Even worse, the idea of respect is completely foreign to Bob Ewell. He displayed not a single ounce of respect to anyone, not even to his wife who had passed away. At the trial, Mr. Gilmer questioned Bob Ewell whether or not he was Mayella Ewells father, and he answered: Well, if I aint I cant do nothing about it now, her mas dead (230). His answer was an insolent attempt to retain a sense of power and superiority at the trial by insulting the people lower than him in the social hierarchy of Maycomb, women. Naturally, Ewells response to the question would spark a sense of distaste and antipathy in the readers. To further deepen the readers hatred against Bob Ewell, Harper Lee revealed an evil conspiracy Bob Ewell created to falsely accuse an African American of a capital crime. During the final speech Atticus Finch gave before the jury decided the verdict, Atticus indirectly claimed that the entire trial was all Bob Ewells evil doing. He says, …What did her [Mayellas] father do? We dont know, but there is circumstantial evidence to indicated that Mayella Ewell was beaten savagely by someone who led almost exclusively with his left. We do know in part what Mr. Ewell did: he did what any God-fearing, persevering, respectable white man would do under the circumstanceshe swore out a warrant, no doubt signing it with his left hand, and Tom Robinson now sits before you, having taken the oath with the only good hand he possesseshis right hand (273). This quote showed what truly happened at the crime scene. Bob Ewell was responsible for beating Mayella, and he lied under oath to testify against an innocent man. These actions showed how Bob Ewell symbolized the racist and uneducated part of the South. By accusing an African American of rape, Bob Ewell earned 15 minutes of fame in Maycomb, and he hoped that by bringing an African American to justice, he would be regarded as a hero. At this point, Harper Lee had created a character that almost every reader would condemn as evil and immoral. Based on what readers knew from the book, Bob Ewell could be considered the epitome of villains in literature. In order for the readers to maintain such an image of Bob Ewell, Harper Lee avoided giving any background of Bob Ewells past. The readers only saw one side of Bob Ewell, the wicked and dishonest man who would do anything to satisfy his own desires. A character similar to Bob Ewell can easily be found in a fairy tale. For example, in Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf lied to Little Red Riding Hood and ate her grandma for dinner. In the book, Bob Ewell lied to the jury during the trial and ultimately caused the death of Tom Robinson. Characters like that may seem realistic in a fairy tale, but using a flat, static character to teach readers about the real world is far-fetched. Even the evilest man in the world will have their own set of morals. In a conflict, each side will see themselves as good and label the other as evil because they will all have their own explanations for their actions. What made To Kill A Mockingbird unrealistic is that Harper Lee failed to show the justification of the antagonist, Bob Ewell. In summary, Harper Lee does not give the reasons behind Bob Ewells actions, so the readers have no choice but to think of him as a villain.
Furthermore, Harper Lee created Atticus Finch as a good and moral hero with no faults in his character. Atticus Finch was the protagonist of the story, and from the beginning of the story, the readers could see the integrity and honor Atticus Finch had. All the citizens of Maycomb respected Atticus because he was someone everyone could turn to in times of need. On one occasion, Scout was discussing with her neighbor, Miss Maudie, about Boo Radley. Miss Maudie hinted that something dark had happened in the Radley home that no one knew about, and she said, What happens in houses behind closed doors, what secrets Hearing this, Scout felt that Miss Maudies words were also directed at her father, so Scout indignantly defended Atticus. Miss Maudie comforted Scout by saying … Ill say this: Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets (61). Miss Maudie declared that in Maycomb County, Atticus Finch is a man who does not have one set of morals for business and another for family. Atticus was unable of doing anything that would come in violation of his conscience.