To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel like no other. The story told through the eyes of a girl looking back at the time when she was growing up literally gnaws at the readers mind to know what happens later and why the society depicted is the way it comes out to be. Though the book is told through the eyes of a young inexperienced girl that might not get all the things happening at the moment, the reader still is able to observe the race conflicts and problems that arise during the duration of the story and as it progresses. There are many conflicts that arise during the coarse of the overall story, but the one that is the most apparent to the reader that comes up later through the book is the trial of a man named Tom Robinson. In a time where racism is rampant and in a society where it is prominent the future of the case was easily known well beforehand, though through the telling of the tale it does not seem the same way to the reader.
The story is told by a little girl named Jean Louise Finch who is called by her nickname, Scout, throughout the book. She is telling the story of when her brother Jem broke is arm and how it came to happen. At first it seems that they live in a nice little town called Maycomb where everyone knows each other and everyone is kind to one another. Scout and Jem are the kids of Atticus Finch who is a well respected lawyer in the town of Maycomb and is overall part of a very wealthy family. The lives of the two kids is average in the sense that they live a comfortable life with normal problems. They deal with school and friends just like all the others. But slowly through the progression of the story, word comes up of the trial in which Atticus must defend a black man accused by a white woman that he had raped her. At the time it was considered impossible for a black man to win such a case in such a racist society.
In a quick introduction summary, the story begins with the two children Scout and Jem who are growing up in Maycomb which is a small nice town. Their father, Atticus is a well respected lawyer who is also decently wealthy for the town and has always been known as a very kind man who always acts nicely to everyone. We also learn about Arthur "Boo" Radley who is a boy said to be locked in his house for 30 years because of problems he got into while he was a kid and his father became furious from, and therefore locked him inside the house so he did not get into trouble again. We also learn as time goes by that both Jem and Scout grow in their own way, mostly being that Jem sees things that Scout does not understand yet, and Jem also starts to mature in the way that he thinks differently about Scout than he does at the beginning of the novel showing the change in age.
Later into the novel, Atticus is assigned to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of rape by Mayella Ewell who is a white woman. The entire town, due to racial bias, wants Tom to be found guilty regardless of if he was really guilty or not, but because of Atticus's morals and beliefs about human rights, he refuses to throw out the case and will defend Tom Robinson just as he would anyone else, and it is also known that he can't throw the case as he wouldn't feel the same talking to his children anymore because of it. This is not known to the kids at the beginning when Atticus learns of his new assignment, but through small clues and harassment they endure from the rest of the town, they pick up what is going on. Slowly people in the town begin to call Atticus a nigger-lover when he refuses to let Tom be accused and found guilty without a proper trial. This begins to anger Scout and Jem who respect their father and don't like it when others speak badly of them. Problems escalate when Scout and Jem begin to get into trouble because of fights (for Scout), and damages ( for Jem) since they begin to lose their temper when someone insults Atticus.
Soon Atticus tells them to keep their heads down because he does not want more attention than is already on them during the case. It lasts for a while, until Jem loses control when Mrs. Dubose (a cranky old lady) taunts Jem by calling Atticus a nigger-lover resulting in lots of anger from Jem leading him to destroy Mrs. Dubose's flowers which in turn results in many problems for the kids who then are told to read to her every day for a month as punishment. This also leads into the first major lesson learned and stepping stone in the novel as a whole. Atticus explains to Jem and Scout that Mrs. Dubose even though she seems mean is one of the most heroic people he has ever met. In the book on page 112 Atticus and Jem have the following conversation about the punishment and why Atticus thought she was a very brave person after all she has done. "A lady?" Jem raised his head. His face was scarlet. "After all those things she said about you, a lady?" "She was. She had her own views about things, a lot different from mine, maybe...Son, I told you that if you hadn't lost your head I'd have made you go read to her. I wanted you to see something about her. I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do." In this conversation we learn that Atticus again, acts as a kind person to all, but still will teach his children when he can and not try to hide them for the truth.
As the story progresses the problem of the case become more and more for the kids and for Atticus because of the reactions of the town folk from Atticus defending a black man. The town people even try to form a lynch mob to kill Tom Robinson while he is in jail, but Atticus refuses to allow them to do such a thing. Moments before they lose their tempers, Scout enters in and disperses the crowd by identifying one of the people that were part of the mob and it is also revealed that Heck Tate, the sheriff, was watching the entire time ready to step in as well.
Soon in a matter of time the date of the trial approaches nearer and nearer, and the town becomes more tense from what has been happening and who they think will win the case. By this time Scout and Jem have become very aware of the trial and what has been going on, so they also are very anxious to see what happens. During the trial itself Atticus defends Tom Robinson well and also has Tom able to tell his side of the story in full detail of all he remembered of the night in question, seemingly to be very well at convincing the jury of his innocence as well. Atticus also shows how he is an excellent lawyer by making the people in the courtroom, including his children examine the facts rather than the race of the accused. The line from page 203 shows that Atticus is well deserving of his reputation and also makes a good impression with Jem. "The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with ever took place. It has relied instead upon the testimony of two witnesses whose evidence has not only been called into serious question on cross-examination, but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant. The defendant is not guilty, but somebody in this courtroom is." After hearing this Jem is sure that Tom Robinson will be freed and Atticus will win the case as he sees the town as nice kind people who look at the facts, because the two kids are young, they do not see the race conflict at hand which ultimately leads to disappointment for all three of the kids watching the trial (Jem, Scout, Dill).
After an abnormally long session where the jury decides the verdict, they come back into the courtroom for the final decision. They find Tom Robinson guilty, and at this point the race conflict is revealed the most and the anxiety in the readers mind is shattered with despair. As with the reader, the kids as well are devastated by the final decision as they were sure that Tom Robinson would be freed after all that Atticus had said and done. Before leaving the courtroom, the kids do notice something that happens that they did not know would. The black people in the crowd, including Reverend Sykes, tells the kids to stand up as Atticus passes as a means to show respect for his efforts to try to defend Tom Robinson in this case. Told in Scout's view this is the part of the text that shows this, found on page 211. "'Miss Jean Louise?' I looked around. They were all standing. All around us, and in the balcony on the opposite wall, the Negroes were getting to their feet. Reverend Sykes's voice was as distant as Judge Taylor's: "Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin." In the end Tom Robinson loses all hope of freedom and tries to escape prison but is killed in the process.
As explained, race conflicts do appear in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. These conflicts were a depiction of the time that the novel took place in when people of different colors were discriminated against all he time in all types of places. In the story the kids were the only people that were unaware of this conflict in progress until the very end showing that only those minds that have not been influenced yet are the ones that will see the real truth before bias arise. The race conflict that arose in this novel does depict what was going on at the time, but it also showed the movement to being more tolerant for people of all colors because at the end of the novel it is shown that even though Tom Robinson was found guilty when he was truly innocent, the jury took longer, and people were thinking of giving Tom freedom instead of the norm that was around at the time of just saying he was guilty as charged. This also ties in with the title of the novel as in the story it is told that killing a mockingbird who only sings for people is a sin. In the story Tom Robinson is shown as a person who is a mockingbird in the sense that he only helps and has a pure heart and tries his best to just help people and thats about all he does. So the fact that he was found guilty by the jury depicts the symbolism of killing a mockingbird in that sense that he lost his life when he did nothing but help.
In conclusion, the story shows the race conflicts of the 1930s. It is not known and revealed much as first since the story is told from the eyes of the young girl named Jean Louise Finch (Scout) and so until the case of Tom Robinson comes up, they do not notice anything. When it does come up, more talk goes around about Atticus defending black people and tensions rise in the town. Ultimately leading to the trial and conviction of Tom Robinson as guilty shows the racism out right of the town in the story and it becomes apparent. Though the race conflicts did happen and it was at times very bad, the story To Kill a Mockingbird shows a change to a more tolerant society where people do not discriminate against people with different colored skins. Overall, the novel is an extremely good depiction of the change that occurred to bring more diversity to societies in the US.