Walk A Mile In Their Shoes To Understand

973 words - 4 pages

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a coming of age story of two young children, Scout and Jem Finch, who learn how to live in the prejudiced society of the fictional town, Maycomb, Alabama. Many characters are involved in helping Scout and Jem learn important lessons and mature, whether it is by mouth or through actions. They learn how to be more gentleman and ladylike, they learn that people are sometimes cruel and ignorant, but most importantly, they learn to look at people with more than one perspective. Harper Lee uses the characters Atticus, Dolphus Raymond, and Boo Radley, to show the idea that one cannot fully understand another person until he or she walks in that person's shoes.
Atticus, the father of Scout and Jem, plays an immensely important role in the children’s maturing by teaching them valuable life lessons that benefit their character and knowledge of how to live in the world. When telling Jem and Scout why Mrs. Dubose acts the way she does, and how he thinks she is one of the most courageous women he knows, he says, “Courage is when you know your licked before you begin but you begin anyway”(128). The children learn that Mrs. Dubose was not a mean, old, wicked lady; she was a person trying to get rid of an addiction, even though it would cause her pain to do so. This entire conversation shows Scout and Jem that people are not always what one perceives them to be, and that one needs to understand why someone does the things they do before they judge them for it. While Atticus is giving his closing argument in the Tom Robinson trial, he makes an important point that shows the children why people in this town are prejudiced, and how it is wrong to generalize a group when we have just as many faults as they do. Atticus says, “gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption—the evil assumption—that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings/ this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men”(232). Atticus’s entire argument just reiterates the idea, an idea which he has taught many times to his children, that one needs to know a person before one can make an assumption that they are a certain way. This theme and idea is introduced to the children by Atticus, and from this, they learn much wisdom that helps them comprehend others actions.
Dolphus Raymond is thought of as a drunk fool and disgrace to Maycomb, but while Scout, Jem, and Dill are outside the courthouse, they learn that he is not the man they expected him to be. Before Scout has this conversation with Dolphus Raymond outside the courthouse she thinks that “Mr. Dolphus Raymond was an evil man”(227). Scout just knows Mr. Raymond...

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