Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird has become an American classic in fiction. It’s a story which represents a time within the United States of America that has somewhat left us, yet is still a negative part of our culture today.  This story was published on Christmas day in the year 1962.  This story has  a varied of character elements representing morals as well as negative parts of humanity. I read the novel for the first time last week and today I re-watched the film.

 

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird the story is about a six year old  girl named Jean Louise Finch( she goes by the nickname Scout). She’s growing up in the 1930’s within a small Alabama town. Scout is a tomboy who follows her older brother Jem all around town. Scout and Jem also have a best friend named Dill who lives with his aunt during the summer until he goes back to school in the fall up north. The children’s mother died leaving their father Atticus Finch as their protector. Atticus Finch is probably the most important character in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Atticus Finch is Scout’s go to for moral advice. He’s a warm hearted man who is a lawyer for the least privileged or well liked. Throughout the novel, Atticus teaches Scout 4  crucial lessons for life.

1.

Put yourself in another person’s shoes.

 Most of the novel Scout cannot keep herself from getting into fights. She dislikes being insulted very much. On the other hand, Atticus see’s life much differently. He teaches Scout that before you judge another person’s character you should understand where they’re coming from likewise to Boo Radley. In most of the novel Jem, Dill, and Scout are trying to uncover the secret to the Radley’s strange ways. Gossip swirls about Arthur Radley the Radley’s youngest son who rarely leaves his house. The children make up stories like Arthur tortures cats and other gruesome tales. The children even give Arthur Radley a nickname Boo as if he were actually a ghost. During the summer, when Dill is around, they play games around the Radley house like daring someone to run on their front porch, ding dong ditch etc.  The truth was that sometime Arthur got into  deep trouble with the law, so his father kept him at home as punishment. Eventually Arthur’s father dies, so his older brother Nathan became his guardian. Being such a recluse, Boo spends most of his time at his house away from the world outside.  In a way Boo Radley protects Jem and Scout.

From time to time Boo Radley leaves a gift inside of a tree which Jem and Scout collect. Boo does this so they can see him in the evening while everyone else is in bed asleep. One night Jem, Dill, and Scout sneak up to Boo Radley’s front window to get a better glimpse at him, yet Boo’s older brother Nathan expects them to be a thief, so he shoots toward them to scare them away. He did. While escaping, Jem’s overall’s get stuck on the Radley fence. He escapes  without his pants running back home. Later on, Jem returns to get his pants which Boo Radley fixed for him. It takes Scout and Jem a long time to figure out that Boo was always looking out for them.

2.

Do not kill a mockingbird

Atticus gets Jem and Scout air rifles. He instructs them to never shoot a mockingbird. This order confuses Scout, so she asks Atticus why they cannot shoot at any mockingbirds. Paraphrasing Atticus said, “because all a mockingbird does is sing, so why kill something that can only sing?” Basically it means to leave weaker persons alone, because they’re no harm to anyone.

3.

Keep Fighting even if you know you’ll lose

 

In the 2nd half of the novel Atticus Finch is dealing with a difficult case, involving a black man named Tom Robertson who was accused of raping Bob Ewell’s daughter Mia Ewell. Atticus accepts the job of being his defendant although his chances of winning the case are mightily slim, because of heavy racism within the community. Many in the town show anger  toward Atticus for supporting Tom.

Scout, and Jem are also mocked at school for their father’s beliefs,  yet he teaches his children to not fret over their hatred. Atticus teaches Scout and Jem to preserver  and fight the good fight even when you’re losing the battle. At the trial, we clearly see that the Ewells  are not good folks. Bob Ewell is an obnoxious drunk who  viciously mistreats his daughter, yet they try to push the blame on Tom Robertson. Mia Ewell’s accusations are clearly false,  yet the town agrees with the dim witted Ewell deceitful  lies over Atticus’s phenomenal plea of reason over race.

 

4

The World is Unfair

 

The outcome of the trail leaves Jem and Scout with a new outlook on life. They found out that their town is not so pleasant. Law and order are also tainted being swayed by mere  judgement of another man’s color of skin over the actual fact that Tom Robertson was innocent. Near the end of the novel on Halloween night Bob Ewell tries to murder Scout and Jem, but out of the blue comes Boo Radley to their rescue. Boo murder’s Bob Ewell, yet he gets away with the murder which is another fallacy to law and order none the less Scout reminds Atticus that condemning a man such as Arthur Radley would be like killing a mockingbird. Scout returns Boo Radley to his home, because he was too afraid to go home alone in the dark. This brings us back to the first lesson of putting yourself into another person’s shoes.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird  is one of those books everyone should read. This novel gave such a colorful understanding to problems our society faces still today. I enjoy how Harper Lee exposes issues facing men and women of both colors. The world is an unhappy place where terrible wrongs occur each day.  Racism is one of those terrible wrongs. We may never understand why terrible things such as racism exist, yet it does. What we can do is stick up for what is right. Many go along with what is easy, so they do not get hurt. Truthfully many people are afraid to do what is right over what is easy. They fear evil. In my opinion evil only wins if we allow it to control us.  If you defend what is right over what is easy you can go to bed happily, living a life of peace.

 

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/mocking/

 

 

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