Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird Faults With Characters, Plot, And Theme

1403 words - 6 pages

The Flaws of To Kill a Mockingbird

 
Is it possible to judge literary classics to have failings or are they beyond contemporary measurements? As perfection is not attainable in any media, "classics" such as To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel by Harper Lee, can be found to have many instances of fault and flaw. A great novel should ease the reader into learning the story's characters and histories. It should include a plot that keeps the reader up all night wanting to read more. And it should also include a theme that remains clear and focused; to reach out to a reader without being encumbered. However this is not the case with To Kill a Mockingbird. To Kill a Mockingbird has faults with its characters, plot, and overall theme.

The introduction of both the characters and their histories are flawed. The novel hastily presents a great number of characters within a short amount of written space; causing the reader trouble when trying to differentiate between them. With a few dozen individuals taking part in the goings on in the story arc, one finds oneself constantly backtracking through the story to find previous references and descriptions of the characters to remember who they are. What is worse is the fact that many of the names of said persons mentioned early in the story make no appearance at all later on in the work. "...but they were Haverfords, in Maycomb county a name synonymous with jackass...John Hale Finch was ten years younger than my father" (Lee 5).

"Jem gave Dill the general attitudes of the more prominent figures: Mr. Tensaw
Jones voted the straight Prohibition ticket; Miss Emily Davis dipped snuff in
private; Mr. Byron Waller could play the violin..." (Lee 159).

This leads to further confusion when reading the novel. The long and developed histories presented on many of the persons in Maycomb also donate poorly to the work. The author of the novel goes into considerable length explaining the basic family histories of the various households in Maycomb. Rather than aiding the reader they only contribute to the headache of memorizing nearly unimportant fiction in a futile attempt to better understand the story. An example of this follows:

"...we had Simon Finch, a fur trapping apothecary from Cornwall whose piety was exceeded only by his stinginess. In England, Simon was irritated by the persecution of those who called themselves Methodists at the hands of their more liberal brethren, and as Simon called himself a Methodist, he worked his way across the Atlantic to Philadelphia, thence to Jamaica thence to Mobile, and up the Saint Stephens (Lee 3, 4)."

This sentence and the three paragraphs that follow on the same topic present the reader with meaningless background which will more often puzzle than help. What is worse is that all of the back story is unnecessary and has little to do with the plot or characters themselves. While these developments do not necessarily make...

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