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Learning Experiences(to Kill a

Oct 08, 1999 705 Words
One of the principal aims of To Kill a Mockingbird is to subject the narrator to a series of learning experiences and then observe how much she profits from her experiences. There is rarely a chapter that does not teach Scout something new or does not build toward a new learning experience. So, one rewarding approach to the novel is throughout an examination of these experiences.

In the largest view, Scout learns about (1) justice and injustice through the Tom Robinson trial; (2) prejustice and its effects on the processes of the law and society; (3) courage as manifested in ways others act; and (4) respect for individuality of the human being. On a smaller scale, Scout learns numerous things about numerous people; she becomes aware of the difficulty of being a lady, particularly when under dressed; and she learns when to fight and not to fight.

Many of scouts learning experiences being in clearly insignificant scenes. Ultimately she must learn to respect the difference in behavior between vastly different people, especially when the behavior differs from the normal as radically as in the cases of Boo Radley, Mrs. Dubose, and the Cunninghams. So early in the novel, Scout in the novel, Scout is faced with some confusing experiences at school, where she confronts a teacher who dosen't understand why she can read and where she meets Walter Cunningham. Later, Atticus explains to her that to judge a person you must try to see things from that person's point of view. You must learn to walk aroun in his skin. Then you cab uderstand better why a person acts or belives what he does.

Only at the end of the novel does Scout finally learn to respect this saying. Until then, she remains curious and confused why Boo never came out of his house. In the meantime she goes through a series of maturing experiences. She learns how to see her from the teachers point of view; she tries to judge the Cunninghams and the Ewells from their side; she bears the insults of the town and particularly the apperent viciousness of Mrs. Duboes. From all of these, she learns to look at the individuality of the others!

For Scout, courage is most often something with physical act and involves personal danger. It is very difficult for Scout to see that greater courage is often required in other places of life. Scout learns that the greatest courage can be found in a situation where a person knows that he is going to lose and still continues to fight. To prove this, Miss Lee first had Scout observe her father perform a physical act of courage when he shoots the charging mad dog. Then Scout encounters the seemingless vinductiveness of Mrs. Dubose. After this she dies, Atticus explains to them how courageous the lady was because she knew she was dying but was determined to die free of morphine which had preciously controlled her. She fought against great odds even though she knew that she would lose.

The above lesser experiences prepare Scout for the greater test o Courage: the is Atticus' fight for Tom's life even though he knows that he will lose the case and even though he knows that he is fighting against tremendous odds. This realization forces Scout to quit fighting with her fists and try to combat others opinions with her head than her physical violence.

Prejuduce is someting that has to taught and is therefore on of the most difficult things to understand. Atticus has brought up both children to respect all people nervermind there color. Scout's close relationship with Calpurnia attests to her acceptance of a person of any color. Atticus as a lawyer has always believed in the principle of justice and alliance to the processes of the law. Consequently, when Tom is found guilty though it was obvious even to the children that he was innocent, they are not capable of understanding the degree to which prejustice can alter the course of justice. Even Atticus cannot explain it. All that Scout can see in the horror and disgrace where an ignorant white girl can become instrument of death for an innocent Negro.

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