To Kill A Mockingbird 3

932 words - 4 pages

Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird is concerned with a loss of innocence. Discuss by referring to two key scenes in the novel. Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird is certainly about a loss of innocence. However, this aspect is only emphasised to convey a more powerful and meaningful message. It is a mean by which the author introduces and effectively represents the main issue of concern in the novel; prejudice and discrimination. The use of Scout, Jem and Dill's "loss of innocence" is used throughout the novel, including during the court case and the children's visit to the jail. Through this the author aims to highlight the matter of prejudices and evoke empathy and understanding in the readers.One of Scout's first encounters with prejudice, and subsequent "loss of innocence", is during the children's interruption at the jail house where Tom Robinson was being held. On impulse, the children arrived at the jail to encounter several men confronting Atticus. At this time, Scout was quite unaware of what was happening, being totally oblivious to the threat the men posed to the safety of herself, Atticus, Jem and Dill. She was merely expecting an argument between the men and was eager to witness it. Her naivete becomes even more evident in her "talk" with Mr Cunningham. She began conversation to be polite, possibly to impress the adults present. As she was not encumbered by the knowledge of the impending danger, she talked freely with Mr Cunningham, the only man she knew in the group present.Unknowingly, Scout prompted Mr Cunningham to see his faults and underlying prejudices. She talks about Mr Cunningham's son, Walter, and tells of having him over for dinner. The Cunninghams' poverty and social status were unimportant to Scout or any of the Finches. Walter was a "nice boy"and it was on this basis that Scout befriended him and the Finches welcomed him into their home. This was a marked difference between the Finches attitude and his own behaviour towards Atticus and ultimately, Tom Robinson. Walter Cunningham realised that not only others had to treat him fairly, but he had to treat everyone else in the same unprejudiced manner. Scout had helped him to acknowledge that fact.Yet, "the full meaning of the night's events" was only perceived by Scout later in the novel. Even then, she found the situation difficult to understand. She voiced her concerns to Atticus during mealtime, "I thought Mr Cunningham was a friend of ours but last night he wanted to hurt you". To which Atticus replied "He still is (a friend), he just has his blind spots along with the rest of us". Gradually Scout begins to learn the ways of the world, losing her innocence and naivete. Scout, and readers...

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