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Passage Annotation And Character Study To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

1897 words - 8 pages

Passage Annotation and Character Study- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The novel To Kill a Mockingbird is a timeless American classic that has been appreciated and loved by readers for decades. Harper Lee explores the story of a lawyer and his family in the deep parts of the South who is given the task of defending a black man accused with the rape of an adolescent white girl. Atticus Finch, the father of the protagonist and narrator Scout Finch, represents an elite group of minds that see beyond the invisible lines of race and wish to treat everyone with respect and equality. Atticus faces a series of external and internal struggles that brings meaning to the novel and reveals the ...view middle of the document...

Atticus is given the job of defending Tom Robinson, a black man who is charged with raping a white girl. The people of Maycomb County, Alabama, are deeply traditional and just as racist; they do not approve of Atticus Finch defending a black man in such a controversial case. This time period is one of racial discrimination and social inequality; two subjects young Scout Finch is only beginning to comprehend. Scout is hearing talk around school and town about her father defending a black man and calling him a “nigger-lover”. She pesters Atticus to give her an explanation; Atticus tells Scout who he is defending, a black man named Tom Robinson. When Atticus remarks that, “there’s been some high talk around town to the effect that I shouldn’t do much about defending this man,” (Lee 86) Scout asks why he is doing it if he knows it’s bad. Atticus explains that his values and morals compel him to fight for the case. He tells her to disregard the snide comments made by her peers and fellow neighbors; Atticus knows it’s a hopeless cause to fight, but he will try to win because he is an honorable man and he truly believes in Tom’s cause. Atticus will have to face the wrath of his townsfolk and racial discrimination, but he is emotionally attached to the case and will fight for it. As he teaches his kids to ignore the hate and carry on without worrying about society, he is also re-assuring himself any dispelling any doubts he might have concerning his involvement.


Scout and Jem do not fully appreciate their father’s potential and they are disappointed that he is not like the other dads around town; “He was much older than the parents of our school contemporaries…. He did not do the things our schoolmates’ fathers did: he never went hunting, he did not play poker or fish or drink or smoke. He sat in the living room and read.” (Lee 102) According to Scout, Atticus is an old man who is not like the other children’s fathers. They essentially are taking him for granted; they are not capable of realizing his true potential. Atticus may not participate in the same extracurricular activities, however he is a well-educated man who does not see the point in killing for pleasure, especially the mockingbirds. This excerpt from Chapter 9 is where the author first identifies with the theme of the innocence concerning the mockingbirds. “Atticus said to Jem one day- I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after the birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” (Lee 103) Bluejays eat the berries and annoy the animals, but all mockingbirds ever do is sing and provide everyone around them with enjoyment. Atticus is the talk of the town due to his involvement in the Tom Robinson case, talk that Scout and Jem would rather not hear. Despite his overall contentment in life, Atticus is scorned for defending a black man. Atticus follows his own advice and doesn’t pay mind to the...

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