How Does Harper Lee Portray the Themes of Innocence, Maturity and Growing Up in “to Kill a Mockingbird”?

Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, Truman Capote Pages: 3 (1037 words) Published: October 2, 2012
In ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ written by Harper Lee, the author has used numerous different methods to portray the themes of innocence, maturity and growing up. These themes were put in so that the audience could become more empathetic towards the characters, especially the protagonists. She depicts these themes through characters, events, using symbolism, imagery and contrast located throughout the book.

Firstly, Harper Lee shows the themes of innocence, maturity and growing up through the main characters of the novel. Due to this particular theme, the two main specimens would be Jem and Scout. Both these characters start as innocent, carefree and typical children until the dire events unroll, they start to lose their purity as they start to understand the real world. This loss of innocence is Harper Lee’s method of allowing the reader to observe the changes in Scout and Jem, as she transforms them into adults with adult qualities. Atticus teaches Scout to be empathetic towards people. Atticus attempts to make Scout grow up; “Atticus had promised me he would wear me out if he ever heard of me fighting anymore; I was far too old and too big for such childish things, and the sooner I learned to hold in, the better off everybody would be”. Jem learns to treat everyone equally, as he would want to be treated. It can be seen when he realises the cruelty of society when he says; "I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that's what they seems like".

In addition to the previous thought, Lee also portrays these ideas through the events that occur throughout the book, route of passage of the children. This journey represents the path from innocence to maturity, the world in which they grew up in, to the cruel, evil, outside world. The children’s first sign of maturity was when Atticus said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it". This...
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