"To Kill A Mocking Bird" By Harper Lee.

2408 words - 10 pages

To kill a Mockingbird, a novel by Harper Lee, communicates many themes concerning how its characters lose their innocence due to some form of moral corruption they were subjected to as children. At the beginning of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is an innocent, good-hearted five-year-old child who has no experience with the evils of the world. As the novel progresses, Scout has her first contact with evil in the form of racial prejudice. The basic development of her character is governed by the question of whether she will emerge from that contact with her conscience and optimism intact or whether she will be bruised or hurt. Scout learns that though humanity has agreat capacity for evil, it also has a great capacity for good. Though she is still a child at the end of the book, Scout's perspective on life develops from that of an innocent child into that of a near grown-up (Glasser 239). Jem, Scout's brother, is her constant playmate at the beginning of the story. Four years older than Scout, he gradually separates himself from her games, but he remains her close companion and protector throughout the novel.Jem moves into adolescence during the story, and his ideals are shaken badly by the eviland injustice that he perceives during the trial of Tom Robinson.Another character, BooRadley, becomes the focus of the children's curiosity in the early chapters. As he fits theperspective of childhood innocence, the outsider is given no identity apart from theyouthful superstitions that surround him: Scout describes him as a "malevolent phantom"over six feet tall who eats squirrels and cats (Lee 13). Eventually, Boo will betransformed from a nightmare villain into a human being, and the children'sunderstanding of him will reflect their own journey toward adulthood. The appealingdepiction of childhood innocence, scathing moral condemnation of racial prejudice, andaffirmation that human goodness can withstand the assault of evil makes To Kill aMockingbird an attention-grabbing narrative.Before the characters were exposed to the prejudices which jaded their morality,they were, for the most part, naïve. Scout remained convinced of other people's essentialgoodness, a conviction that the novel as a whole, shared. Jem, on the other hand wasintolerant and unforgiving. Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose was an elderly, ill-tempered,racist woman who lived near the Finches. Although Jem believed that Mrs. Dubose was athoroughly bad woman, Atticus admired her for the courage with which she battled hermorphine addiction. On the way to the business district in Maycomb, was Mrs. Dubose'shouse. A cantankerous old lady, she always shouted at Jem and Scout as they passed by.Atticus warned Jem to be a gentleman because she was old and sick, but one day shetold the children that Atticus was not any better than the trash he works for,and Jem lost his temper. Jem took a baton from Scout and destroyed all of Mrs. Dubose'scamellia bushes. As punishment, Jem had to read to her every...

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