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To Kill a Mocking Bird

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To kill a Mocking bird – three life lessons Scout learns

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the narrator Scout Finch learns life lessons through the harsh reality of racism. The three main lessons she learns are it is wrong to be act cruel to people, the definition of courage and the importance in understanding others. She puts herself in others’ perspectives and positions. The lessons help Scout to gradually comprehend the society she lives in. One of the lessons Scout learns is that it is wrong to hurt innocent people. It is vividly described by Atticus as, “it is a sin to kill a mockingbird” where a mockingbird symbolizes innocence. Miss Maudie says to Scout, “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.” (90) In their conversation, the mockingbird is a symbol of innocent people; it is also a central theme of the novel. There are also several “mockingbirds who are hurt by people.” For instance, Boo Radley is locked in his house for over twenty years by his father. He is receiving punishment without doing anything harmful. Also, Atticus is another innocent person who is hurt . Bob Ewell tries to get revenge by hurting his children. Atticus did not do anything harmful but tell everybody the truth about Bob Ewell’s offence. One more example is Tom Robinson. He is accused by Bob Ewell for raping his daughter, Mayella, but Tom only wanted to help Mayella for he feels sorry for her. In general, Scout learns it is a sin to hurt innocent people. Additionally, Scout learns the definition of courage. She learns that courage is doing the right thing which is not always easy. Some characters express the definition of “real courage”. For example, Atticus tells Jem and Scout that Mrs Dubose “was the bravest person” (112) for Mrs Dubose wants to die free of her addiction to morphia. She bears inconceivable pain to get rid of her addiction of morphia. Also, real courage is expressed by Atticus. The right but difficult thing he does is defending Tom Robinson. Atticus knows he will lose the case, but believes that Tom has a right to a fair trial. Moreover, Boo Radley shows real courage as well. The easiest thing for him to do is to stay in the house instead of saving Jem and Scout from Bob Ewell. He does the right thing by protecting these two children. These characters teach Scout a lesson about real courage. The third lesson Scout learns is how to understand a person. Atticus teaches her, “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”(30) To understand a person, she has to stand in his or her shoes and to consider the whole situation. Scout learns this progressively by events and characters around her. For instance, Scout is punished when she criticizes Walter Cunningham about the syrup he puts on his food. If Scout stands in Walter’s shoes, she would feel the embarrassment she has put on Walter. However, Scout eventually learns this lesson when she hears about Mayella’s life. She concludes “Mayella must be the loneliest person in the world.” Scout considers Mayella’s position and feels her loneliness for Mayella has no friends and her family does not care about her. Also, Scout finally understands Boo Radley and why he keeps avoiding the world outside his house; he cannot get back to society after an almost twenty-year arrest because of the difficulty for him to accept reality. Scout finally understands how to relate to others. In conclusion, Scout learns these three main lessons through events and other characters. These events and memories allow Scout to grow and mature through first hand experience with the reality of her society.

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