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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

By Jess86 Oct 18, 2005 690 Words
To Kill a Mocking bird by Harper Lee is about the journey of Jean Louise ‘Scout' Finch, an innocent good hearted five year old child with no experiences with the evils of the world. Through out the novel Scout grows and learns as she encounters the world in new light as she grows up during the depression in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama in the USA. Harper Lee intentionally directs the reader to take the point of view of Scout so they can experience the unbiased perspective of her. Lee manipulates the readers to see the truth and develop with Scout as she journeys from ignorance to enlightenment. A novel that depicts personal growth such as Scouts is called a bildungs roman, Lee present this growth in various ways through conventions and techniques throughout the entire novel. It is clear from the start of the novel that Scout is who she is because of how Atticus has raised her. Atticus has nurtured Scouts mind, conscience and individuality without bogging her down with social hypocrisies and propriety. Atticus's hands off parenting style has lead Scout to be wearing overalls and climbing trees with Jem, her brother and Dill their neighbour. Instead of wearing dresses and learning manners like any other girl in her same position, she has been able to grow up freely and with out much baggage. Despite being very intelligent (she could read before she started school), she does not grasp social niceties, this is shown when Scout goes to school and bluntly tell her teacher Ms Caroline that one of her class mates Walter Cunningham is too poor to pay her back for lunch. "You're shamin' him, Miss Caroline. Walter hasn't got a quarter at home to bring you" pg 24 Scout upset from being told off at school starts to fight Walter Cunningham but Jem intervenes and invites Walter for dinner. During dinner it is revealed to her that Walter's family may be poor but doesn't mean that they are bad people and should be treated with respect. Scout realises not to be judgemental and should treat all people, big or small, poor or rich with kindness. Atticus guides Scout to understand why people act like they do and what their perspectives are. "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it" pg 33 This is probably on of the most important conversations between Atticus and Scout. Seeing other people's perspectives is also an underlying theme and lesson throughout Mockingbird. This piece of crucial advice governs Scouts development for the rest of the novel. Atticus's simplistic manner that he uses to steer Scout with his wisdom is shown all the way through the novel. Scout struggles to understand and with some varying levels of success is able to use it in normal life. It is not till the end of the book that she is able to fully be sympathetic and understanding by being in someone else's view. At the end she succeeds in comprehending Boo Radley's perspective proving that Scout has actually been able to grow and learn, fulfilling one of the stepping stones of her personal growth. This provides the novel with an optimistic ending despite its attentive darkness of the plot A good indicator of Scouts growth is her changing attitude of Boo Radley. At the start of the book Boo Radley is merely a childhood superstition and is used for entertainment for the 3 children. Yet when he starts to leave presents in the oak tress for Jem and scout and repairs Jem's pants for him he suddenly becomes increasingly real to them. Boo, an intelligent child ruined by a cruel father is one of the most important mockingbirds, he is also an important symbol of the good that exists with people. Despite the pain that Boo suffered, the purity of his heard rules his interactions with the children. In saving Jem and Scout from Bob Ewell, Boo proves the ultimate symbol of good.

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