Moral Relativity and
Post Modernism in To Kill a Mockingbird
Since the 1960s, society has been shifting from the traditional culture based around the organized. It was a society that had a moral base. Since the 1960s, the western world, and more specifically the United States, have shifted away from this moral base and into a post-modernist moral relativity. Rules are suggestions instead of law, the standpoint that all opinions are valid but not true, the secularism of personal views, the hatred of authority, and the overall conviction that if their is no God, then there are no absolutes. Harper Lee masterfully demonstrates this post modernism in her work, To Kill a Mockingbird.
In a post modernism point of view, rules are no longer absolutes, but guidelines and suggestions. Harper Lee demonstrates this skewed view of laws in the portrayal of the Ewell’s poaching. As the blurring of the lines between rules and suggestions progresses, the Ewells poach more and more in order to feed their family.
Ms. Maudie’s view of baptists is an illustration of the post modern stance that all opinions are valid but not true. Prejudice against other sects of Christianity is a direct representation of Lee’s interpretation of her then-current cultural climate.
Another example of moral relativity in To Kill a Mockingbird, would be the evidence of isolated beliefs or the unwritten rule of “one must not impose beliefs on others.” An example would would be Aunt Alexandra’s decision to not allow Scout and Jem to go to the black church because she was afraid of the black’s perspectives being imposed on the children. Another
example of this prejudice is Macomb's rejection to hear Tom Robinson’s side of the story with any seriousness.
The post modernist ‘hatred of authority’ motif is also shown by Harper Lee when Jem is punished by being forced to read to Mrs. Dubose. Jem’s hatred toward Atticus’ authority is a direct...
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