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To Kill A Mockingbird Theme Of Courage

1953 words - 8 pages

To Kill a Mockingbird is a book mainly about courage. Moreover, it contrasts and compares courage against many other themes in order to show the importance of courage. Throughout the book, Atticus, Jem, Scout, Tom and "Boo" Radley displayed courage. Courage shown by the aforementioned characters are contrasted and compared with the lack of education, fear and the prejudice of most of the Maycomb population. These comparisons exemplify the real courage of the above characters, and bring the reader to 'climb into their skin and walk around in it.'The book is set in the late 1930s'. During that time, many people are not well educated (or if they are educated, they are not educated very well. The exception is Atticus). Harper Lee showed this lack of education in general by depicting it through Miss Caroline--a first grade teacher for the school in Maycomb.Miss Caroline discouraged Scout from reading when she discovered that Scout could read. This showed the rigidness of the teaching system in those days (and it also showed the rigidness of people's beliefs about things such as the Dewey Decimal System). The reader receives a surprising shock, because Miss Caroline is a teacher and she is discouraging a student to read and write, "...tell your father to stop teaching you anymore, it will interfere with your learning. It's best to start reading with a fresh mind...you tell him I'll take over from here, and try to undo the damage..." and "...besides, we don't write in the first grade...you won't learn until the third grade..." This shows the incompetence of the public education system at that time. It also implies that most people are very rigid about their beliefs.Atticus on the other hand, has the courage and wisdom to see through the awful education system and encourages Scout to read and write by compromising with her. This way, Atticus taught Scout about courage and compromise. Although this is a small event and insignificant in terms of the plot, it showed that Atticus is wise and has inner courage.Miss Caroline represents the education system in the 1930's. Obviously, with teachers such as her in the education system, most people would be under educated. This lack of education forms the basis for the fear and prejudice amongst the population. They are not learned enough to come to terms with their prejudice and fear. They are not wise and not courageous enough to break their tradition/belief that the Negroes are inferior. All this is because they do not receive enough education.The book contrasts this with Atticus. Atticus did receive education. He, in fact, had a lot more education than the common person did in Maycomb. As a result, he is wise and learned, and can appreciate the Negroes as a race of people, not 'trash'. Harper Lee showed the reader that education is vital to the soul of a person, and can effect how he/she behaves.Fear is the foundation of hatred. What people do not understand, they fear. What they fear, they would probably...

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