To Kill A Mockingbird Essay

1275 words - 5 pages

1 To Kill A MockingbirdThe historical novel, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, is set in racially prejudiced Maycomb, Alabama in the nineteen thirties. Atticus' greatest act of courage was taking on the Tom Robinson case. To Jem and Scout, courage was "a man with a gun in his hand"(149). The children thought of Atticus' one-shot kill of the mad dog as a tour de force. In this case, Atticus was not trying to prove anything and therefore is the wrong definition of courage. Atticus defined real courage as when "you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what"(149). Atticus' greatest act of courage was his choice to defend Tom Robinson to the best of his ability; he knew beforehand that he would lose, but he still tried his hardest by standing his moral as well as physical ground.Fully aware of the society and times in which he lived, Atticus knew that he would lose the case. Atticus knew that in defending Tom Robinson, he had everything to lose, but he was prepared to undertake the herculean task of defending Tom. He understood that his efforts would ultimately be in vain but when Scout asked Atticus if he would win the case, Atticus replied saying "no…[but]simply because we're licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win"(101). In this quote, Atticus clearly portrays his determination to fight for Tom Robinson even though all logic concluded that the battle had been lost and there would be no use fighting. When the jury came back to the courtroom, Scout stated that "it was like watching Atticus walk into the street, raise a rifle to his shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching all the time knowing that the gun was empty"(282). This contrasts the time when Atticus shot the mad dog to the trial. In the mad dog case, he knew he would win, but in the trial, the gun was empty, symbolizing that Atticus knew that he would lose and still raised the gun as if he were going to shoot. Even after the trial, Scout reflected that "Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson but in the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case"(323). This illustrates the lengths to which Atticus went to defend Tom Robinson because everyone, including Atticus, knew that a black man's word would not be taken over a white woman's.Although he knew that the case was already lost, Atticus still tried his hardest to defend Tom Robinson and in doing so, stood his moral ground. Atticus stated that Tom "might go to the chair, but he's not going till the truth's told"(195). While there was a high probability that his efforts would not amount to much, Atticus was still determined to try his best. He spent time to find the strongest evidence to prove Tom Robinson innocent. While talking to Scout, Atticus states that the case "'won't come to trial until next summer session. John Taylor was kind enough to give us a postponement...'"(100). If Atticus had not...

Find Another Essay On To Kill A Mockingbird

Prejudice Runs Deep in To Kill A Mockingbird

1672 words - 7 pages Prejudice Runs Deep in To Kill A Mockingbird   To Kill A Mockingbird takes place in small town Maycomb, Alabama, a depression era town where people move slowly and twenty-four hours seems longer.  The narrator of the story is a six-year-old girl named Jean Louise Finch, a tomboy who hates wearing dresses and goes by the nickname "Scout."  Scout's being a tomboy is of no little significance because while we are treated to a sweet and

To Kill A Mockingbird Essay: Parallels and Differences

1804 words - 7 pages To Kill a Mockingbird:  Parallels and Differences        Jill McCorkle's Ferris Beach, a contemporary novel, shares numerous characteristics with Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel written in the 1960's. Like To Kill a Mockingbird, McCorkle's novel documents the life of a young girl in a small southern town. The two narrators, Kate Burns and Scout Finch, endure difficult encounters. A study

Mythology and Archetypes in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

2786 words - 11 pages Mythology and Archetypes in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird       Of all the various approaches to criticism, the Mythological/Archetypal achieves the greatest impact over the entire literary scope, because the themes and patterns unearthed apply universally to all works, yielding results that can be applied to a great many texts. This is because the very nature of the Mythological/Archetypal approach is the exploration of the

To Kill A Mockingbird The Maturing of Jem Finch

1163 words - 5 pages To Kill A Mockingbird              The Maturing of Jem Finch       Society is not as innocent to a child as it may appear to be. In fact, when one really understands the society in which he lives he is no longer a child. This is much the same case as found in To Kill A Mockingbird, by Leigh Harper. Although Jem, being a child at the beginning of the novel, is immature and unaware of the society in which he lives, he

Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird and the Scottsboro Case

1379 words - 6 pages Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird and the Scottsboro Case On March 25 1931 a group of nine boys were charged with raping two girls aboard a train traveling from Paint Rock Alabama across the state’s border. The trial of these boys had become collectively known as the Scottsboro case. Several years later Harper Lee wrote her famous novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In this story a young male Tom Robinson is charged with raping a white female

Tom Robinson’s Conviction in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

1579 words - 6 pages Tom Robinson’s Conviction in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is an almost faultless representation of how the “white” word dominated the “black” word in the South. The novel shows that a white person’s word, no matter how faulted, was more readily accepted than any black person’s word. Allowing a “Negro’s” word to be accepted over “white” word would make southern society less secure in its assumed

To Kill A Mockingbird Essay: Southern Tradition Exposed

1949 words - 8 pages Southerners are known to be proud of their traditional beliefs. To Kill A Mockingbird allows its readers to question and consider those beliefs. Maycomb represents a typical old southern town. Not many people move into Maycomb and not many people who live there journey beyond its boundaries. As a result, the opinions held by many of the citizens of Maycomb are left to grow and foster in the same families for many generations. The circumstances

Importance of the Trial in To Kill a Mockingbird

1342 words - 5 pages Importance of the Trial in To Kill a Mockingbird      The trial of Tom Robinson is central to our understanding of racial and social prejudice in Maycomb. Harper Lee uses Tom Robinson's 'crime' to bring tensions in the town to a head and the author uses the trial as a way of making the ideas behind such tensions explicit for the reader.   The two people involved in the so-called crime, Tom Robinson and Mayella Ewell, are at

Prejudice in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

4476 words - 18 pages Prejudice is the preconceived opinion of a person or thing. There are three main types of prejudice: racial prejudice, social prejudice and religious prejudice. These three are the types of prejudice most dominant in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. The setting for the novel is a fictitious town called Maycomb. This town is situated in Alabama, south USA. The racial prejudice shown in the novel has a lot to do with the town being situated in the

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird - Faults with Characters, Plot, and Theme

1403 words - 6 pages The Flaws of To Kill a Mockingbird   Is it possible to judge literary classics to have failings or are they beyond contemporary measurements? As perfection is not attainable in any media, "classics" such as To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel by Harper Lee, can be found to have many instances of fault and flaw. A great novel should ease the reader into learning the story's characters and histories. It should include a plot that keeps the

Racial Prejudice and Oppression in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

2162 words - 9 pages Racial Prejudice and Oppression in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird 'Democracy,' she said. 'Does anybody have a definition?' ... 'Equal rights for all, special privileges for none' (Lee 248). To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee's only novel, is a fictional story of racial oppression, set in Maycomb, A.L. in 1925 to 1935, loosely based on the events of the Scottsboro trials. Unlike the story however, the racial discrimination and

Similar Essays

To Kill A Mockingbird Complexity

860 words - 3 pages To Kill a Mockingbird - Complexity   To Kill a Mockingbird exhibits many characters and their roles in the city of Maycomb. Among the many characters, are Jem Finch, brother of Jean Louise Finch daughter of Atticus, and Arthur Radley a relative of Nathan Radley. All of the characters in the book demonstrate one-dimensional and three-dimensional tendencies but Jem and Arthur are those that provide the greatest insight to the

To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

2186 words - 9 pages To Kill a Mockingbird To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee seems like a complete replica of the lives of people living in a small Southern U.S. town. The themes expressed in this novel are as relevant today as when this novel was written, and also the most significant literary devices used by Lee. The novel brings forward many important themes, such as the importance of education, recognition of inner courage, and the misfortunes of prejudice

To Kill A Mockingbird Essays: Great Courage

1056 words - 4 pages Courage in To Kill A Mockingbird   Courage is shown within the characters of To Kill A Mockingbird in several situations.  The characters are challenged to face danger or pain without fear.  The courage they display gives them strength and deepens their self-understanding as the novel progresses.     Early in the novel, Scout illustrates the courage she embodies.  On her first day of school, Scout acts as

To Kill A Mockingbird: An Analysis Of Discrimination

977 words - 4 pages To Kill a Mockingbird: An Analysis of Discrimination The most important theme of the 1960 Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird is author Harper Lee’s tenacious exploration of the moral nature of people. Lee tenaciously explores the moral nature of human beings, especially the struggle in every human soul between discrimination and tolerance. The novel is very effective in not only revealing prejudice, but in examining