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Transition From Childhood To Maturity: Good And Evil

1064 words - 4 pages

In the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, many themes are discussed throughout the story. The most significant theme is how over the course of the story, Jem and Scout slowly mature after specific events, and realize the reality of good and evil. Along the way, they meet Tom Robinson, a black man who is convicted of raping a white girl, who plays a major role in the story. Mrs. Dubose, a senile grumpy woman, shows what “real courage” is. Arthur Radley, known as Boo, is a recluse who is said to have tried to kill his father. As the events unfold, Jem and Scout are hit with the reality of racism and social inequality, but most of all, how good and evil play a role in people’s minds, and hearts.
Our first major character is Boo Radley, who is first introduced as Scout and Jem walk past the Radley house every day after school. Jem, Scout, and Dill are fascinated with the chilly stories of Boo’s past, spending many summers acting out his life and imagining what he is like. As the story progresses, the children come to realize that Boo was in fact an intelligent child, but was poorly treated by his “foot-washing Baptist” father, resulting in mental problems at a very young age. Boo Radley is one of the eponymous “mockingbirds” of the book, the other being Tom Robinson. Mockingbirds, as explained in the book by Atticus, “don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy... but sing their hearts out for us. That is why it is a sin to kill a mockingbird." (90) The analogy holds true for Boo, a young boy damaged by his father’s ambitions, and is partially the reason he has shied away from society. He is already experienced the harmful effects of a racist/judgmental culture and realizes how evil society is. Towards the end of the book, Scout finally understands what it means to “step into ones shoes” as she stands on the Radley porch, overlooking the street. She feels his pain, his anguish, and sees that he is only a good man who is looked down upon by society. At one point in the story, Jem tries to leave a note for Boo, but as he is trying to escape his jeans get caught on the fence, ripping them to shreds and forcing him to leave the property with no pants. Later when he goes to retrieve them, he sees that they are mended and folded across the top of the fence, showing to Jem that Boo Radley is in fact more human and not a mythical being.
Next, the kids meet Mrs. Dubose, who generally hurls insults at them as Jem and Scout pass by her house. Jem frequently told Scout to just ignore her insults, but one day it got to him and he wrecked her flowers. As punishment to Jem, he would have to read to her for a couple of hours every day in the afternoon for a month. During the story time, Mrs. Dubose would space out and stare out into the distance. Jem learned later that this was because she was trying to recover from her morphine addiction. At first, Jem thinks...

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