“Justice is essential to a decent society” – Discuss this with reference to the text To Kill a Mockingbird.


In a world increasingly troubled by hatred, greed and intolerance, the search for solutions is one that undoubtedly thrives in the minds of each individual conscious of the need for change Decency is a word that implies basic moral standards, but it would surprise many to realise the difficulties these basic standards face in surviving, and it is an ideal still yet to be achieved in our world. While justice, a quality humans have tried to incorporate into everyday life since the beginning of time, may not hold all the answers, it is definitely one of the essential elements needed for a decent society.


Justice is a quality that stands for the wellbeing of a community, not certain individuals, and this stance alone makes justice a critical to a decent society. A society that is burdened with the different and demanding wants of individuals will only disintegrate into one where community is no longer a word with meaning, where people will act solely for their own benefits and basic morality would be lost. Justice gives us a set of morals which are to be followed so a better life can be led by all. It is often secretly despised as a result, because it cannot possibly satisfy everyone’s desires, yet what we need for a decent society is common ideals shared by the population for the greater good of all that dwell within the community. In To Kill a Mockingbird the groups that have the strongest bonds are those who are united in the same cause, be them positive or negative. The group of ladies responsible of spreading gossip share a desire to spark interest in the dull township. The Negroes display the greatest unity when they combine to the cause of helping Tom Robinson. Justice is the quality that has the power, however, to change the negative ideals and motivations into ones that conform to fit within its restrictions. Maycomb of To Kill a Mockingbird is a community that is desperately in need of changes in attitudes – an eradication of prejudice, the initial cause from which stems the town’s other problems. Had justice been achieved in the courtroom trial of Tom Robinson, the town would have moved to share some new values, values that encourage narrowing the gap between blacks and whites. People would one day be united in the motivation to see that selfish people such as the Ewells would not be allowed to continue acting only in their own interests, “putting a man’s life at stake – in an effort to get rid of her own guilt”. With these changes, we can positively say that while Maycomb would not be perfect, it would be one step closer to a righteous society. The strict conducts of justice would be the only way to enforce law and order into societies like Maycomb and like the ones we live in today, whose countless faults can only prove their lacking qualities are preventing us from achieving a world of decency.


For justice to exist in a manner so that a decent society can be achieved however, requires justice to be a sentiment that dwells within the hearts of each and every individual who are part of that society. It is useless if one person out of the billions in the world had a sense of justice within them because reality is the power of one is not great enough in this case to be influential to the enormous society he lives in. Justice being implemented by a minority and opposed by a majority would be a futile attempt to implant decency within the whole society. This is clearly illustrated in the outcome of To Kill a Mockingbird. There is no doubt that Atticus Finch, Miss Maudie and a small number of other characters in the novel were fair-minded people, who stood for equal rights between all human beings, yet as we can see, their influence was not enough to sway a society steeped deeply in prejudice and injustice. In the jury for Tom Robinson’s trial, there was a Cunningham who tried to make the other men see Tom’s case in new