Killing Me Softly Essay

1143 words - 5 pages

Harper Lee did not originally write To Kill a Mockingbird for adolescents, yet it has become a novel that is used in American high schools across the nation and is considered literature with a capital L. In the novel, Lee lays a foundation of moral instruction, living history and character development providing a great deal of moral insight for the reader. Her use of first person narration and an adolescent protagonist create a strong tie with the adolescent reader and make it fun to read. With an underlying theme of movement from childhood to adulthood, Lee’s children in the book learn a valuable lesson, and the students reading it also get that message.

Lee uses moral instruction to connect the reader to the story and through the use of a literary term called allusion. To Kill A Mockingbird walks us through sins of society and the moral role we play when we respond to others. Atticus points out several time that you should never judge a man “Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”1 Lee writes To Kill a Mockingbird to point out basic morals people should live by and she does this through the life and times of adolescents. The point of view is one in which adolescents, through thoughts and feelings, can connect. The novel also depicts a single father that demonstrates moral responsibility even in situations of difficulty and a world of intolerance, “It’s not fair for you and Jem, I know that, but sometimes we have to make the best of things, and the way we conduct ourselves when the chips are down . . . . this case is something that goes to the essence of a man’s conscious”.2 The story is a faced-paced tale of passage from childhood to adulthood using historical and social settings. It deals with emotions that are important to young people such as loss of childhood or innocence, status, acceptance and responsibility of the treatment of others. Scout’s brash lesson from Calpurnia on the treatment of others reminds the reader of their moral obligation regardless of socioeconomic or ethnic background, “don’t matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house’s yo’ comp’ny, and don’t you let me catch you remarkin’ on their ways like you was so high and mighty! Yo’ folks might be better’n the Cunninghams but it don’t count for nothin’ the way you’re disgracin’ ‘em.”3

The historical setting and the use of history in this novel is another factor that not only makes it a great piece of literature but guides the reader through the experience of the day and its significance. References to the Great Depression of the 1930’s, reminds us of the hardships and difficulties of the time. Through character style we come to understand the dialect of the poor, the whites, the blacks and the society in the South. This helps lend local color and realism to the literature. “Why do you talk nigger-talk to the –to your folks when you know it’s not right?”4 Co-existing at this period of time in history was also challenging for black and white people....

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