"To Kill A Mockingbird." Essay

1122 words - 4 pages

The story of Jean Louise 'Scout' Finch, growing up with her father, Atticus and brother, Jem in the US Southern state of Alabama, in the 1930s, is the story told by Harper Lee in "To Kill a Mockingbird." Throughout the novel, Scout faces many trials and tribulations through which she learnt many lessons. One lesson Scout learned was to tolerate others, regardless of their race or how they live their lives. Scout also learned that courage isn't only a man with a gun. Both lessons were learnt in a manner that is unique to "To Kill a Mockingbird".Like many other communities, Maycomb was home to many different kinds of people. According to Jem, "There are four kinds of folks in the world. There are ordinary kind like us and the neighbours, there's the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells out in the dump, and the Negroes...The thing about it is, our kind of folks don't like the Cunninghams, the Cunninghams don't like the Ewells, and the Ewells hate and despise the coloured folks." (Page 249) By saying this, Jem has shown the competing class discourse that is evident throughout the whole novel. This competing discourse is between the 'ordinary' whites and the Negroes. The whites are upper, middle and in terms of the Ewells and Cunninghams, lower class. The Negroes are even lower than the lower class because most white people believe they are superior to the Negroes. Both, as demonstrated by Jem are intolerant of each other. This attitude has been brought on by almost a century of Negro slavery, which ended during the Civil War; the whites still see Negroes as slaves and underclass, while Negroes see the white people as their oppressors. The treatment of Negroes as slaves has influenced the white people in the novel to think that Negroes are the lowest social class. This attitude has therefore shaped the Negro's way of life and their attitudes, values and beliefs.One family that saw Negroes as equal was the Finch Family. Early on in the novel, Scout learned perhaps the greatest lesson she learnt from her father through the course of this novel. This lesson being, "You never truly really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." (Page 33) Scout learned that there is a reason why a person may act the way they do and its not right to judge and be intolerant without understanding their position. This simple advice from her father enabled Scout to understand people better as evident by the last chapter when Scout finally understands Boo and why he isolates himself.Scout's learning that people should be more tolerant of each other is evident by various events throughout the novel. Perhaps the most significant event was Tom Robinson's trial, when Tom was convicted even through the evidence indicated he was innocent. Tom Robinson was convicted just because he was a Negro and a white woman was accusing him. This intolerance was outlined by Dolphus...

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