SOCIETY NORMS vs. INDIVIDUALITY The book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee deals with several controversial topics. Among these is society norms vs. individual. The setting of the story takes place in the 1930's in the southern town of Maycomb. In Maycomb it was hard for people like Atticus Finch, Boo Radley, and Heck Tate to maintain individuality in a 1930's society. Atticus Finch was distinct from his society for several reasons. Atticus (a white man) was overall respectful to blacks.
Maycomb was a predominantly segregated town, and the majority of whites did not tolerate blacks. Atticus however, treated them like equals. For instance, he defended Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson was a black man accused of raping a white woman. Contrary to everyone else Atticus believed he was innocent, and treated the case no differently. Similar to Atticus, Boo Radley did not correspond with his society.
Also, unlike the public he didn't gossip. Primarily he was what the townspeople talked about. In addition opposed to every other character cited he does not go to church. Instead he spends his time inside his house. Heck Tate is also his own individual. After learning Boo Radley killed Bob Ewell, Heck Tate has a right as sheriff to take him into custody.
Despite Atticus's demand he does not. He knows the town does not need anymore gossip, and claims Bob Ewell fell on his knife. If he had followed the beliefs of the town he would have thought of Boo Radley as barbarous. Yet he does not because he won't let Boo Radley go on trial. Also, in spite of everyone's belief, he also takes into consideration the innocence of Tom Robinson.
In any society it is important to maintain ones own individuality, and not follow the predilection of others. This book truly conveys the importance of distinctiveness. Furthermore, no society can be described as normal. Society follows examples from the past, and every person contributes to this. Instead each person should contribute to their own individualism.