Innocence In To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

1425 words - 6 pages

Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator who was acclaimed for her educational method that builds on the way children naturally learn, once said, “Children are human being to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.” In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee, the theme of innocence and especially a child’s innocence is a significant theme. Lee uses the theme to communicate to the reader the faults of society in the fictional community of Maycomb and the corrupted view of people of a different race. She also allows readers to sympathize with characters that are “innocent” in a sense and have been exposed to hatred and arbitrary treatment, for example the most prominent being Boo Radley and Tom Robinson, through the innocent outlook of Jem and Scout. The children have an innocent perspective that reveals what the adults don't see. Being able to connect and sympathize with a person who society looks down upon, revealing the wrong doings of being influenced by a prejudice, and exposing the mistreatment of people with a different skin colour are all important concepts that Harper Lee tried to convey through the perspectives of the children throughout the novel.

Without being completely conscious of the consequences of her act of courage, Scout was able to disband a mob attempting to lynch Tom Robinson through her childlike innocence. While standing amidst the crowd of men in front of the jailhouse Scout sparked a conversation with the only person who she could recognize: “’Entailments are bad,’ I was advising him, when I slowly awoke to the fact that I was addressing the entire aggregation. The men were looking at me; some had their mouths half-open … Their attention amounted to fascination. Atticus’ mouth, even, was half-open…I was slowly drying up, wondering what idiocy I had committed. Entailments seemed all right enough for living room talk” (Lee, 154). Being a child that she is, Scout had no idea about what she had actually gotten herself into. She was ignorant to the methods of “justice” adapted by the people of the white community in that era where strong objections and hatred were evidently expressed to people of a different race, or in this case the African American population. Initially acting to save her father, Scout put herself in the centre of all of the commotion and gains the attention of the entire mob. Unknown to Scout, the mob was incited by the local prejudice against people of African American. The mob together had one motive or goal, and it was governed under a single mindset. Scout singling out one particular person distorted the basic attitude of the mob members. Expressing her childlike character, Scout was able to expose what the adults in the mob could not see that they were looking through the eyes of racial prejudice. The adults did not realize the true magnitude of the atrocity that they are about to commit until...

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