March 11, 2009
Ethics: The Keys to Humanity's Forbearance
Morality is not a virtue that many can tolerate without a conscience. It was considered the critical awareness of humanity's standards of conduct that are accepted as proper. Yet, for Scout, morality becomes not only a principle, but also a necessity in order for her to survive in the prejudiced society of Maycomb County. It is solely the essence of ethics that causes her to frown upon the injustices brought about by intolerance. Thus, Scout's maturity towards understanding the vitality of morality allows her to become a noble individual in an unjust social order. Scout's innocence is solely a consequence of her age and prevents her from truly understanding the complexities of the South in the 1930's. Her world is insular and small: her home county of Maycomb, Alabama, "an old town […] a tired old town/ […] / There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with. Maycomb had […] nothing to fear but fear itself” (Lee 6). As Maycomb is a genuine Southern community, its values and customs are old-fashioned. Progress has been halted due to the discrimination that is still heavily embedded within its population. Although Scout interprets the weariness of her town quite literally, it is more symbolic of the general tenets and out-dated beliefs of a racist community. Moreover, her age is an obstacle that impairs her ability to comprehend the dire circumstances of the Great Depression and discount the meaning of President Roosevelt's ominous words. Yet, she is not wholly ignorant of the effects of the depression, which leads her to become very curious about the economy at such a young age; " [her] honest and often confused reactions reflect [her] development as [a person] and also helps the reader gauge the moral consequences of the novel's events" (Felty 298). While Scout may not be aware of the rampant bigotry that
Cited: LeBlanc and Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001. Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing, 1960.