Critical Lens: to Kill a Mockingbird

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Sammie ClemmeyFebruary 2, 2012
Critical Lens Essay - TKAMEnglish 9 – Friedman

To Kill a Mockingbird Critical Lens Essay

“It takes a village to raise a child”, is an African Proverb. In other words, it can take more than just a child’s nuclear family to make her grow into who she will be as an adult. This lens is true because even though parents and siblings have a major effect on a child, and how they turn out later on in life, society and a child’s surrounding are what really shapes, and makes them who they are. What a child sees when he or she is new to the world, and doesn’t know everything, effects their behavior, and outlook on their life ahead. This lens is illustrated in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the characters in Maycomb, Alabama, illustrate how it takes more than just a father and a brother, but a town, for one child to grow up. Scout is six years old, at the beginning of the book. She is whiney, and fidgety, and can hold a grudge for as long as she can hold her temper. By the end of the novel, Scout is about eight years old, and has moved on from her ways of childhood behavior, into a more adult-like attitude. The plot of To Kill a Mockingbird, really maps out Scout’s changing from a young child to a more structured young lady. It shows the theme of how Scout is taught to move from innocence to adulthood. This theme is shown greatly through the relationship of Atticus and his children, and how he devotes himself to building up a civil mind and attitude in Scout and Jem. The times when the children are at school display Atticus’s effective teaching to his children. For example, in school, Scout is constantly confronted for knowing too much, by the teachers, whose cool attitudes towards the children are dark, and overly judgmental. In chapter two, of To Kill a Mockingbird, Miss Caroline scolds Scout for being able to read when she says, “Now you tell your father not to...
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