top-rated free essay

To Kill a Mockingbird: Trial of Life

Oct 08, 1999 913 Words
Trials of Life

Life is all about experiencing, learning, and growing up. The novel To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee shows many examples of growing up during the Great Depression. To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the South during the 1930's. The novel is a summary of the lives of the Finch family and their learning experiences. Atticus Finch, a single parent and lawyer, informs and advises his kids as well as many others about the realities of life. Jem and Scout, his children, encounter many growing experiences throughout their childhood. Dill, Jem and Scout's friend, visits his Aunt Rachel during the summer. He too encounters growing experiences along with Jem and Scout. These four characters lives are prime examples of the trials of life.

Throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus teaches many lessons about people, society, and life, especially to Jem and Scout. In Chapter 11, Atticus says to Jem, "...I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the 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..." Atticus tells Jem this after Mrs. Dubose, their neighbor, dies. By saying this, Atticus is teaching Jem that courage comes from within oneself and takes mental strength and maturity.

Atticus teaches Scout to fight with her head instead of her fists in Chapter 9, p. 80 when he says, "...you just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don't let them get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change...it's a good one, even if it does resist learning." Atticus teaches this concept using himself as an example. He is always calm and fair to everyone.

2

"But he's gone and drowned his dinner in syrup," I protested, "He's poured it all over.-" In this quote during the beginning of the book, Scout shows a lot of immaturity. She shows immaturity by making fun of her guest, which is something that is normally done by people who don't know better, or are too young. Scout shows signs of immaturity similar to this throughout the book. It is not until the middle and latter parts of the novel that Jean Louise starts to show signs of growing up and maturing.

"Jem, are you trying' to scare me? You know I'm too old," This quote comes from towards the end of the novel when Scout is stating that she is to old to be scared. This quote shows that Scout has matured and grown in this part of the novel. In this dialogue by Scout, it appears other people agree with her that she is growing up, because Jem does not argue with her. It seems if there was a way to prove her wrong, Jem would have found it. Maybe by not doing so, Jem and Scout both have grown up by this point in the novel.

Jem, in the beginning of the story, is more mature than any other child in the book. He shows this when he takes care of his sister, Scout, and when he tells her about life. The only time that Jem was childish was when he, Dill, and Scout made up games to play. One instance when Jem took Scout aside to help her understand was when he told her about people like Walter Cunningham and how they were poor and had no money. Jem was like a parent to Scout with all the things he helped her with. Jem showed maturity when he told Dill he should tell his Aunt where he was and not to run away. Later on, Jem became more like Atticus. When Atticus would read the newspaper, Jem would read his magazine instead of play with Scout and Dill.

Throughout the novel, Dill was a follower. He followed Jem and Scout the entire summer. Dill was not very mature in the beginning of the novel. He lied a lot about his father and what his father did. Dill really didn't know much about society and how people in it where a certain class and most of the

3

people were in it because of the depression. That is why he lied and told stories about his father and about himself.

In the end of the novel Dill starts to mature by telling the truth. As quoted on page 143, Dill states the truth, "Mr. Finch, don't tell Aunt Rachel, don't make me go back please sir! I'll run off again!" In this quote Dill says nothing but the truth. At that point in time, Dill has stepped out of his childhood.

Atticus, Jem, Scout, and Dill are prime examples in the trials of life. Atticus guides them through their childhood mishaps, and with time explains the problems of reality. Jem matures and indulges in more adult activities than in the beginning of the novel. Scout learns, "To walk around in other people's skin," and learns to be more self-disciplines and respectful to others. Dill, in the beginning of the novel arrives in Maycomb rattling off stories and lies. Towards the end, Dill learns to tell the truth. In the end, each of the characters learns many lessons about people, society, and life.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • To Kill A Mockingbird Essay on trial

    ... Everything Has A Purpose To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that focuses on discrimination. The County of Maycomb believes that white people are superior in everyway. Lee uses the trial to emphasize the severity of the Maycomb viewpoint. She uses it to show the reader...

    Read More
  • Scottsboro Trials and to Kill a Mockingbird

    ...The Scottsboro Trial and the trial of Tom Robinson are almost identical in the forms of bias shown and the accusers that were persecuted. The bias is obvious and is shown throughout both cases, which took place in the same time period. Common parallels are seen through the time period that both trials have taken place in and those who were perse...

    Read More
  • Family life in ' to kill a mockingbird

    ...In order to appreciate To Kill A Mockingbird fully, we should be familiar with some of the background of its setting. The South in the colonial times grew into an area with large cotton plantations and small cities. Because of the necessity for cheap labour to pick and seed the cotton, Negro slavery took a strong hold there. At the outbreak of t...

    Read More
  • In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    ...In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the small-mindedness of the Maycomb community hiders Maycomb people to truly understand each other. Arthur Radley, also known as Boo, is assigned with negative characteristics without validation by the Maycomb community. As the story unfolds, Scout, the narrator, starts to know more about Boo Radley, ...

    Read More
  • To Kill A Mockingbird. The trial of Tom Robinson

    ...'Guilty' verdict has been reached in the trial of Tom Robinson. A jury of twelve whites has reached a verdict that Tom Robinson, a black male, raped Mayella Ewell, a white woman. The rendition of this verdict has brought to a close a trial that has captured the news and stirred the emotions of this town for several months. It somehow seems f...

    Read More
  • The Scottsboro Trials and to Kill a Mockingbird Parallels

    ...The historical Scottsboro Trial and the fictional trial of Tom Robinson in the book To Kill a Mockingbird have striking similarities that may or may not be coincidence. Both trials took place in Alabama during the same era of relentless prejudice and bias, which is a major factor in each of these cases. In both cases, the accusers were white wom...

    Read More
  • To Kill a Mockingbird- the Trial

    ...TKAM Chapters 17-21-The Trial 1.Why is Bob Ewell so repulsive? How does Lee ensure our dislike? * Lee describes him as a ‘little bantam cock of a man’- bad view of him * Says that he ‘strutted to the stand’- cockiness when his daughter is at court for being raped * Said the ‘back of his neck reddening at the sound his...

    Read More
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

    ...Firsthand Experiences The amount of technology in this world is amazing and where we are in this era is incredible. As technology gets into the minds of children they seem to learn faster than before. It takes minutes for children to understand where adults never really grasp what they hold in their hands. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee u...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.