Loss of Innocence in To Kill a Mockingbird
“Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square.” This environment as Scout Finch accurately describes is not the best or conducive place for young children, loud noises, and games. In the same way as the children, the adults of the novel played games that came from their imaginations, and they themselves are the ones who provided the fear for everyone. As most children do Jem, Scout, and their newly-found friend Dill find amusements to make the days pass by with excitement. When they first met Dill at the beginning, the day’s play is in the backyard. The implication is that it becomes routine for them to play and that each day brings a different experience. When Dill joins them in their daily adventures, they begin to create more elaborate activities. Many days they spent improving the treehouse, and acting out parts of plays by Oliver Victor Appleton, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. There games of Tom Swift the Rover Boys, and The Ghost are the sources of their pleasures for hours and days upon end. Once these games seem rot and overplayed they decide to make Boo Radley come out. Thus the “Boo Radley”, plays begin. These plays are simply for amusement in the end, they teach Jem, Scout, and Dill lessons about respect, courage, and understanding. The “Boo”, games begin with a simple dare that Jem has to carry out in order to gain respect from his sister and friend. Scout and Jem both learn about courage through the first Boo game they invented by testing their levels of fear.
The game has turned into a dangerous, scary expedition that leaves all three of them shaken. Boo’s unspoken, unseen presence at the fire put him in a new light in Jem’s and Scout’s eyes. Yet again, they see reality and their games slowly fading and losing their meaning. The burning house...
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