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Loss Of Innocence In Raisin In The Sun And To Kill A Mockingbird

2191 words - 9 pages

Recently, I have read both a Raisin in the Sun and To Kill a Mockingbird, both considered literary classics. They share a number of similar themes and character that face similar situations. Ultimately, they have extremely different plots, but address the same issues; some that were common around the time they were published, and some that carry relevance into current times. What I wish to bring to light in this essay is that in both novels, there are many characters that lives’ hit a shatter-point in the course of the story. This shatter-point is where the characters’ lives are irrevocably changed, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. What I’m going to explore is how these characters cope with the emotional fallout of what the aforementioned shatter-point left in its wake.
From A Raisin in the Sun we have Benethea Younger, and from To Kill a Mocking Bird we have Jeremy Finch, better known as Jem to analyze. In a Raisin in the Sun, Benethea Younger is an independent, young African-American Woman that has high ambitions for the time period in which the novel is set, she wants to be a doctor so she can make a difference in the world by helping people. It can be determined that she follows a hero’s quest for identity, seeking to find out about her roots. However the point that breaks her spirit, is when she finds out that her brother essentially stole her portion of her father’s life insurance that was meant for her college education to invest in an liquor store, which as we later find out, will not return any profit because one of his so-called “partners” skipped town with all of the investment money.
This shook Benethea to her very core, as by this point she no longer cares about helping people, no longer is on a crusade for equal rights and descends into pessimism and despair, some of her comments invoke down right nihilism. She feels trapped by her race and social class, which at this point in time many African-American were. This is the end product of intolerance, supremacy, and all-out racism which affected the “American Dream” of millions of African-Americans. Back in 1863 with the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the Confederate States’ slave population, the newly freed slaves fled North in hope of better treatment. The experience they received was barely better than being enslaved; also it was frequently worse as it was a struggle to secure the basic needs of life, practically survival, rather than living life.
For a time immediately following the Civil War, the African-Americans and White Americans enjoyed a period of relative equally as every Confederate supporter was barred from running for any government post and civil jobs; an African-American could fill these jobs that mostly every White Southerner was barred from having, so some of the Southern States had African-American representatives to Congress. This didn’t last as the law that barred the “Southern Sympathizers” from holding those jobs was stricken...

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