top-rated free essay

Character Analysis in to Kill a Mockingbird

By kristenL Sep 20, 2011 954 Words
Character Analysis in To Kill a Mockingbird
One of the main themes in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is the contemplation of human behavior. This book asks the question of human goodness and answers it with the childhood experiences of Scout and Jem Finch. Scout and Jem are introduced to prejudice and cruelty throughout the book, and Scout shows through these situations that she is independent, intelligent, and curious.

Scout likes to have fun and do things her way. When Aunt Alexandra comes to Maycomb for a visit, Scout describes her, saying, “. . . she had river-boat, boarding school manners; let any moral come up and she would uphold it; she was born in the objective case; she was an incurable gossip. When Aunt Alexandra went to school, self-doubt could not be found in any textbook, so she knew not if its meaning. She was never bored, and given the slightest chance she would exercise her royal prerogative: she would arrange, advise, caution, and warn.” While Scout does not greatly dislike Aunt Alexandra, she is not fond of her. Scout describes her as pompous, uptight, and opinionated. Scout is the opposite of this. She likes to have fun and go with the flow. When Scout, Atticus, and Jem have gone to see the rest of the family for Christmas, Scout remembers a conversation between her and Aunt Alexandria: “It had something to do with my going around in overalls. Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants . . . . I should be a ray of sunshine in my father’s life. I suggested that one could be a ray of sunshine in pants as well . . .” Aunt Alexandra criticizes Scout about her attire and says that she needs to act more like a lady, but Scout doesn’t want to be a lady. She is a tomboy and wants to have fun. She thinks being girly is silly and frivolous, and likes to do things her own way.

Scout is very wise and intelligent for her age. When Scout takes Dill out of the courtroom because he started crying because Mr. Gilmer’s cruelty toward Tom Robinson during the cross- examination, Dill says, “ ‘“(Dill): ‘It was him I couldn’t stand… That old Mr. Gilmer doin’ him thataway, talking so hateful to him-“ ‘Dill, that’s his job. If we didn’t have prosecutors, well, we wouldn’t have defense attorneys, I reckon.’ ‘…It was the way he said it made me sick, plain sick.’ …”Well, Dill after all he’s just a Negro.’

‘I don’t care one speck. It ain’t right, somehow it ain’t right to do ‘em that way. Hasn’t anybody any business talkin’ like that-it just makes me sick.’ ‘That’s just Mr. Gilmer’s way, Dill.’ ” Dill is upset by the injustice that is shown to Tom Robinson and the other Blacks in Maycomb, and Scout also disagrees with it. However, she is also more aware of and used to it. She understands that these are not treated fairly in society because of their skin color. Scout does not like this, but she accepts it and tries to deal with it in a mature and intelligent way. When Scout is talking to her new teacher, Miss Caroline, she describes her saying, ““She had bright auburn hair, pink cheeks, and wore crimson fingernail polish. She also wore high-heeled pumps and a red-and-white striped dress. She looked and smelled like a peppermint drop.” Scout describes her as girly and flashy, and makes it clear that this annoys her. Scout does not like girly things and values brains and common sense much more. She knows that knowledge and reason will take anyone farther in life.

Scout is very curious about everything she encounters and is eager to learn and understand them. When Mr. Raymond is telling Dill and Scout that he doesn’t really drink whiskey all the time, but leads people in the town to believe that he does, Scout narrated that, “I had a feeling I shouldn’t be here listening to this sinful man who had mixed children and didn’t care who knew it, but he was fascinating. I had never encountered a being who deliberately perpetrated fraud against himself.” Scout finds Mr. Raymond’s point of view on things very interesting. Even though she knows she probably shouldn’t be talking to him, she is too fascinated to walk away. Scout always wants to learn more in every situation. When Scout tells Atticus that she doesn’t want to go to school anymore because Miss Caroline has told her to stop reading, She says, “ ‘-and she said you taught me all wrong, so we can’t ever read anymore, ever. Please don’t send me back, please sir.’ ‘If you’ll concede with the necessity of going to school, we’ll go on reading every night, just like we always have. Is it a bargain?’ ‘Yes sir!’ “ Scout does not want to go back to school because her teacher won’t allow her to read. This upsets her because she loves to read and learn new things. When Atticus allows her to continue reading, she gladly goes back to school. This shows that Scout is curious and anxious to learn.

To Kill a Mockingbird examines human behavior through the childhood experiences of Scout and Jem Finch. Scout Finch is independent, intelligent, and curious, an unusual, kind-hearted tomboy in Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930s.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • To Kill a Mockingbird Character Analysis

    ...Character Analysis Atticus Atticus is the father of Jem and Scout. He gives them almost raise themselves, he gives them a lot of freedom. Atticus has equal respect for all people. By this example he is also not racist. He is independent, not a follower. He always leads his children and others by example, he is not a coward, nor a hypocrite. ...

    Read More
  • Analysis of Major Characters in To Kill a Mockingbird

    ...Analysis of Major Characters in To Kill a Mockingbird Scout v. unusual little girl, in own qualities and in social position. unusually intelligent (learns to read before beginning school), unusually confident (fights boys without fear), unusually thoughtful (worries essential goodness evil of mankind), unusually good (always acts best intent...

    Read More
  • Character Analysis: To Kill a Mockingbird

    ...In Harper Lee’s autobiographical narrative, To Kill a Mockingbird, characters like Atticus, Dolphus Raymond, and Tom Robinson demonstrate many forms of courageous behavior; in contrast, characters like Bob Ewell demonstrate cowardice. From these characters, Harper Lee’s audience learns that there are many characters in this book that are bra...

    Read More
  • To Kill a Mockingbird Character Analysis

    ...TKAM There are many people in To Kill a Mockingbird that have significant influences of Scout and Jem's actions. The two that stood out boldly to me, however, were Atticus and Calpurnia. Atticus, being the children's father, tought his kids many moral lessons. Calpurnia acted as a mother to Jem and Scout. Throughout every chapter these t...

    Read More
  • Character Analysis: To Kill a Mockingbird

    ...prejudice, and for him to hear about Mr. Robinson’s case, he readily chose to defend Mr. Robinson in court, despite what his friends and neighbors in Maycomb would say. Atticus believed that “You'll see white men cheat black men every day - whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a fami...

    Read More
  • Character Analysis: To Kill a Mockingbird

    ...“Maturity is that time when the mirrors in our mind turn to windows and instead of seeing the reflection of ourselves we see others” (Eleanor Roosevelt). To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel written by Harper Lee, in which many of the characters mature and see the world in different perspectives. In the novel, Jem’s thoughts, behavior, and ...

    Read More
  • To Kill a Mockingbird - Character Analysis

    ...After reading Harper Lee's novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, I was particularly drawn toward one protagonist in particular that to me portrays a model for all mankind; that character is Atticus. His morals are his defining feature and to his children, he is a valuable teacher. Despite the novel's lack of Atticus' physical description, his attitude...

    Read More
  • To Kill a Mockingbird - Character Notes

    ...Mrs Dubose: Pg. 119  physical description Mostly in chapter 11 Jem and Scout pass her house and she stirs them up about Atticus defending Tom Robinson. Jem ruins every camellia in her garden, and then both are forced to read to her. Morphine addict. Independent, strong willed, courageous, old fashioned, lonely, cantankerous, contrary, pr...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.