To Kill a Mockingbird; Loss of Innocence

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To kill a mockingbird, wrote by Harper Lee is a novel that shows the prejudice, discrimination and racial segregation in the mid 1930’s, the time of the great depression. Harper cleverly gets across many themes in the novel such as social class, injustice, racial segregation and the strong influence on gender. A key theme is the loss of innocence especially to our main characters Jem and scout. Jem slowly loses it over time in the book as he matures into a young man however he is pushed along the way by some of the life experiences he endures. The main one been the point when he is distraught at the fact that Tom Robinson is found guilty at the trial, Throughout the trial, Jem watches with great interest, and is convinced that based on the evidence, there is no way the jury can convict Tom. So when the verdict comes back as guilty, Jem feels as though he’s been physically attacked.

Judge Taylor was polling the jury: "Guilty... guilty... guilty... guilty..." I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each "guilty" was a separate stab between them. (21.50)

While Jem’s certainty about the trial’s outcome is receiving these blows, the verdict also seems to be a broader attack on things Jem thought were true: that the legal system is just, that innocent men are acquitted, that Maycomb is a community of good, fair-minded people. After the trial, Jem struggles to figure out why people are so eager to divide into groups and hate each other. Scout says that people are just people, but Jem isn’t so sure.

"That's what I thought, too," he said at last, "when I was your age. If there's just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with each other? If they're all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other? Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time... it's because he wants to stay...
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