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Essay: The Theme Of Human Dignity In The Novel To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee.

1504 words - 6 pages

Throughout history, people are often ranked and criticized by society. An individual's nationality, wealth and social status were closely looked over by society's eye. Thus, one's dignity would be decided based on society's opinion of them. In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the theme of human dignity is portrayed by Scout, Calpurnia, and Atticus. This essay will analyze the theme of human dignity and describe how this novel proves that all people, regardless of race, social status, and family history are people of worth.
Scout depicts the theme of human dignity by following Atticus' words of wisdom and putting them to use in her everyday life. She demonstrates the immense understanding that humans are to be treated equally. This proves that her knowledge is well beyond her years. Thankfully, Atticus, a positive role model, is responsible for teaching her this.
"As Atticus once advised me to do, I tried to climb into Jem's skin and walk around in it: if I had gone alone to the Radley Place at two in the morning, my funeral would have been held the next afternoon. So I left Jem alone and tried not to bother him." (Lee 57) It is evident that Scout uses Atticus' advice and her father's words have a positive affect on her. The fact that she decides not to bother Jem proves her respect and maturity. Furthermore, it proves that through her father, Scout has developed an understanding to respect every human being with dignity and respect, including her brother.
"I never understood her preoccupation with heredity. Somewhere, I had received the impression that Fine Folks were people who did the best they could with the sense they
had, but Aunt Alexandra was of the opinion, obliquely expressed, that the longer a family had been squatting on one patch of land the finer it was." (Lee 130) It is unmistakable that Aunt Alexandra and Scout are two very different people. Even though Scout is young, she has a more mature comprehension of people than that of Aunt Alexandra. This shows that Scout knows that families should not be ranked on their property or where they come from. Thus, Scout once again shows her understanding of human dignity.
"When I pointed to him his palms slipped slightly, leaving greasy sweat steaks on the wall, and he hooked his thumbs in his belt. A strange small spasm shook him, as if he heard fingernails scrape slate, but as I gazed at him in wonder the tension slowly drained from his face. His lips parted into a timid smile, and our neighbor's image blurred with my sudden tears. 'Hey, Boo,' I said." (Lee 270) This is the first distinctive sign that Boo is a good man. Even though Scout has never seen him before, she incredibly realizes who he is. This is the first time that she recognizes that the man that she used to fear the most had cared about her and saved her life. Therefore, she is brought to tears at this realization and discovers that despite Boo's social status, he is still a person of worth.
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