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To Kill a Mocking Bird

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Extended Text Respond – To Kill a Mocking Bird

Humans ‘grow’ as they experience and learn from their mistakes. The most basic thing that people start to learn at an early stage is ethics. It is one of the most important aspects that define ones personality. Good ethics, however, is not easily achieved. Humans have to go through various experiences and have to acquire them. The novel To Kill a Mockingbird contains the theme of adolescence, where the characters Jem and Scout go through their childhood, and gain various moral and life lessons as a consequence of their actions. These lessons provide them with knowledge, which in turn allows Jem and Scout to understand the situations that occur in the second part of the novel.

When Walter Cunningham is invited to Scout’s house, she is taught how all people should be treated equally regardless of their actions or background. Furthermore, Jem is able to learn the real meaning of courage from his readings to Miss Dubose. They also learn the importance of lowering oneself before others in order to achieve lasting and trust-bound relationships with others.

During the event of Walter Cunningham’s visit to Scout’s house, Scout learns not to judge other people but to understand them. When Walter pours syrup all over his dinner, Scout criticizes Walter. She is then called to the kitchen, where Calpurnia says “You ain’t called on to contradict them at the table when they don’t. That boy is your company, and if he wants to eat up the table cloth, you let him you hear?” This is a significant lesson from Calpurnia to Scout, as it says not to fix a wrong perspective based on a person’s action. Instead, Scout should let them be and it was her job to change her view on people’s unique actions. “Don’t you let me catch you remarking on their ways like you was so high and mighty! You forks might be better than the Cunningham but it don’t count for nothing the way you are disgracing them.” This quote represents the another lesson to Scout not to contradict other people looking their social status, which relates to the Maycomb’s incorrect criticism toward coloured populaces while white people have no such rights to judge them. This lesson foreshadows the events including the theme of racism and innocence, as Scout will encounter in side the courtroom. This lesson helps Scout to acknowledge the level of discrimination in the town and its inequities.

Jem learns the accurate meaning of courage as he learns from Atticus’s attitude during the rabid dog incident. To keep the town safe, Mr Tate tries to shoot the dog. However the responsibility is soon given to Atticus. Here, Atticus shoots the dog down in one shoot and Jem learns that Atticus was the deadliest shoot in the town. Jem soon realizes that Atticus was a man who disliked guns. It was an object that was able to kill and intimidate other people. From this, Jem understands that man with a gun is no brave but a coward. However, Jem was finally able to comprehend the real courage after his experience with Miss Dubose. Miss Dubose was a morphine addict due to her disease but persistently reduced the usage of morphine when Jem was reading. She knew it was going to be painful and unbearable. However, she wanted to face her death being her self with her courage. “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting an idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.” This quote of Atticus had influenced Jem’s thought on courage enormously. It represents the true courage is not a stereotypical thoughts: like person with a gun but, a person who knows the negative outcome, however, still dedicates himself to go through it no matter what. This lesson eventually leads Jem to understanding his father’s dedication to the case of Tom Robinson.

The two characters learn how to build a strong relationship with others by lowering them selves. When Scout and Jem visit Calpurnia’s church, they realize that Calpurnia had two different lives. When she was with her own people, she began to talk like them. “It’s not necessary to tell all you know. It’s not lady like in the second place, folks don’t like to have somebody around knowing more than they do.” This is the moral lesson of ‘still water runs deep’. It meant that to achieve lasting friendship with people, Scout and Jem should always stay modest and polite. Such lesson to Scout was important, as she was a girl who spoke her mind freely and criticized people. Her personality is shown during Walter’s visit to her house. She censures Walter’s actions due to his poor background. However, through the lesson from church, Scout was able to lower her self and see Walter in various perspectives, making her more interactive person. This enabled both Jem and Scout to be less discriminative as they began to see others on the same level. This event foreshadows and relates to Jem’s anger and curiosity toward Atticus’s lost on Tom Robinson’s case.

The novel included many life lessons about Jem and Scout and the outcomes from it, which have brought more positive actions and ethical thoughts on various subject. Scout’s lesson on discrimination allowed her to be more collaborating and understanding person even to the couloured people despite the time she leaved in. Jem’s new knowledge about courage enabled him to be more thoughtful about what is right and comprehended his father’s reason of protecting Tom Robinson. The lesson from Calpurnia’s church made them more ethical and began to see things in different level of perspective. Therefore, the novel is not only about discrimination but also contained significant deal about morals, which the audiences should follow in their lives. Maybe this was the book that began the change in the society’s perception about other race.

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