To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird To Kill a Mockingbird In the mid 1900s there were many types of families. Some families cared not about what other people thought about what they did, but about if it seemed right to them. Other families did not care what people thought nor did they try to behave descent. And still the families who did their best with what they had. In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, these three types of families seem best displayed in the Finches, Ewells, and Cunninghams.

To begin with, the Finch family, with only one parent, portrays a well-rounded family. First, Atticus Finch raises two children on his own. Jem and Scout, both basically good kids although they grew up with only one parent. They both usually do as Atticus says unless they believe in what they want to do. “Don’t go to him, he might not like it. He’s all right, lets go home.

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I just wanted to see where he was.” (p.151) Also, Scout has difficulty becoming a young lady. She has no mother figure to show her how a lady should dress and act. Aunt Alexandra moves in with the Finch family to show Scout how to act more like a lady. “Jem’s growing up now and you are too. We decided it would be best for you to have some feminine influence.” (p.127) “Aunty had a way of declaring What is Best For The Family, and I suppose her coming to live with us was in that category” (p.129) Finally, Jem Finch grows up very responsible with Atticus’s influence very strong.

Though not having a mother figure also affects him in that in the beginning he has no respect for the way Scout should dress and act as a lady. Towards the end having Aunt Alexandra as a mother influence helps him to realize Scout’s role as a lady. “It’s time you started bein a girl and actin’ right!” (p. 115) Besides the Finches, the Ewell family, a disgrace to the town of Maycomb, lives in poverty and ignorance. To begin with, Robert Ewell, an abusive, hateful drunk, has no intellect or dignity whatsoever.

He lives with his seven children in an impoverished home behind the city dump. “No economic fluctuations changed their status-people like the Ewells lived as guests of the county in prosperity as well as in the depths of a depression” (p.170) Also, the seven children of Mr. Ewell do nothing all day. They don’t help Mayella keep things in order at their house. “I felt right sorry for her, she seemed to try more’n the rest of ’em-” (p.197) Then, Mayella Ewell, a lonely girl without a person in the world who cares for her, besides Tom Robinson, accuses her one friend of raping her.

Tom Robinson cares enough about Mayella to do odd jobs for her around the house without being paid a cent. Mayelle seemed so lonely she would befriend anyone who showed even the slightest bit of interest in her. “She’d call me in, suh. Seemed like every time I passed by yonder she’d have some little somethin’ for me to do-” (p.191) Just as the Ewells had little money, neither did the Cunninghams, but they did their best to be upstanding citizens. First, Walter Cunningham, a quiet boy, attends school with Scout. He may be poor, but he acts like a perfect gentleman. “The Cunninghams never took anything they could not pay back” (p.20) Also, Mr.

Cunningham, a friend of the Finch family, goes against Mr. Finch to try to kill Tom Robinson. Mr. Cunningham and a group of men come to kill Tom, but Scout, Jem, and Dill came and interrupted them. Scout went and talked to Mr. Cunningham and he called their raid off.

“Let’s clear out, lets get going, boys.” (p.154) Finally, the Cunningham family never borrows or takes anything they can not pay back. Mr. Finch did some entailments for Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Cunningham paid him with food.

The Finches, Ewells, and Cunninghams, all families in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, have many similarities and differences. The Ewells and Cunninghams, both poor, seem different in that the Ewells display trash and ignorance, and the Cunninghams display good mannerisms. The Finches and Cunninghams both posses great manners, but the Cunninghams live in poverty whereas the Finches seem “comfortable.” The Ewells and the Finches have almost nothing in common. Of the many types of families in the mid 1900s, the Finches, Ewells, and the Cunninghams seem to be the three main types.

To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee is an ageless classic that takes place during the 1930s. In the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, there was a deadly racial attitude towards the people who were different then the general public. In a town of tunnel vision and hatred, Atticus and Scout stood out with open minds. Atticus was the anchor of reason in Maycomb. He understood many people in town and taught his children how to understand other people’s feeling as well.

Atticus believed that if you knew what someone had been through, then you would understand them better. Atticus also made Jem and Scout realize that no one is pure evil; meaning that if you look hard enough, you would find that there is good in every person you meet. Mrs. Dubose, who was perceived as an “old witch” by Jem and Scout, showed great bravery in her fight against drug addiction. Atticus believed Jem would change his opinions of Mrs. Dubose if he spends some time with her.

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Only after Mrs. Dubose’s death did Jem begin to perceive Mrs. Dubose the same way his father did. Likewise Atticus defended Tom Robinson when no other lawyer would. He was one of the few respectable people who were not blinded by the racial injustice Tom Robinson faced. Not only did Atticus defend Tom in the courthouse, he defended him at jail on one occasion too. It happened when an angry mob was trying to kill Tom Robinson, but Atticus risked his life to save him from that mob.

If only the people of Maycomb were willing to listen to Atticus’ wise advice, then the town would be free of racism. Scout, symbolizing the leaders of tomorrow, began to see how other people perceived things. She started to understand the meaning of “to kill a mockingbird.” At first Scout couldn’t comprehend what Atticus meant when he said, “It was a sin to kill a mockingbird.” As the novel progressed, Scout begun to realize how people contributed to the community without harming others. For example when Boo Radley (the shy neighbor who never went outside) killed Bob Ewell to save Jem and Scout, the sheriff of Maycomb County tried to cover it up. Heck Tate, who was the sheriff, believed that “..taking the one man who’s done you and this town a great service an’ draggin’ him with his shy ways into the limelight” (279) was a sin.

Tate reasoned that Boo would have hated being praised a hero by the townspeople because he was so shy. Because she had a child-like innocence and believed that racism is wrong, she could have been the perfect role model for people of all ages. Atticus and Scout, the few people in Maycomb who had enough senses to see the injustice of discrimination. Some people may ask how a whole town could be consumed by hatred. But even today our world continues to deal with racism.

If people like Atticus and Scout did not exist in our world, then mankind would be in forever war until we completely destroy each other.

To Kill A Mockingbird

Analysis of Major Characters
Scout – Scout is a very unusual little girl, both in her own qualities and in her social position. She is unusually intelligent (she learns to read before beginning school), unusually confident (she fights boys without fear), unusually thoughtful (she worries about the essential goodness and evil of mankind), and unusually good (she always acts with the best intentions). In terms of her social identity, she is unusual for being a tomboy in the prim and proper Southern world of Maycomb.

One quickly realizes when reading To Kill a Mockingbird that Scout is who she is because of the way Atticus has raised her. He has nurtured her mind, conscience, and individuality without bogging her down in fussy social hypocrisies and notions of propriety. While most girls in Scout’s position would be wearing dresses and learning manners, Scout, thanks to Atticus’s hands-off parenting style, wears overalls and learns to climb trees with Jem and Dill. She does not always grasp social niceties (she tells her teacher that one of her fellow students is too poor to pay her back for lunch), and human behavior often baffles her (as when one of her teachers criticizes Hitler’s prejudice against Jews while indulging in her own prejudice against blacks), but Atticus’s protection of Scout from hypocrisy and social pressure has rendered her open, forthright, and well meaning.

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At the beginning of the novel, Scout is an innocent, good-hearted five-year-old child who has no experience with the evils of the world. As the novel progresses, Scout has her first contact with evil in the form of racial prejudice, and the basic development of her character is governed by the question of whether she will emerge from that contact with her conscience and optimism intact or whether she will be bruised, hurt, or destroyed like Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. Thanks to Atticus’s wisdom, Scout learns that though humanity has a great capacity for evil, it also has a great capacity for good, and that the evil can often be mitigated if one approaches others with an outlook of sympathy and understanding. Scout’s development into a person capable of assuming that outlook marks the culmination of the novel and indicates that, whatever evil she encounters, she will retain her conscience without becoming cynical or jaded. Though she is still a child at the end of the book, Scout’s perspective on life develops from that of an innocent child into that of a near grown-up.


Atticus – As one of the most prominent citizens in Maycomb during the Great Depression, Atticus is relatively well off in a time of widespread poverty. Because of his penetrating intelligence, calm wisdom, and exemplary behavior, Atticus is respected by everyone, including the very poor. He functions as the moral backbone of Maycomb, a person to whom others turn in times of doubt and trouble. But the conscience that makes him so admirable ultimately causes his falling out with the people of Maycomb. Unable to abide the town’s comfortable ingrained racial prejudice, he agrees to defend Tom Robinson, a black man. Atticus’s action makes him the object of scorn in Maycomb, but he is simply too impressive a figure to be scorned for long. After the trial, he seems destined to be held in the same high regard as before.

Atticus practices the ethic of sympathy and understanding that he preaches to Scout and Jem and never holds a grudge against the people of Maycomb. Despite their callous indifference to racial inequality, Atticus sees much to admire in them. He recognizes that people have both good and bad qualities, and he is determined to admire the good while understanding and forgiving the bad. Atticus passes this great moral lesson on to Scoutthis perspective protects the innocent from being destroyed by contact with evil.

Ironically, though Atticus is a heroic figure in the novel and a respected man in Maycomb, neither Jem nor Scout consciously idolizes him at the beginning of the novel. Both are embarrassed that he is older than other fathers and that he doesn’t hunt or fish. But Atticus’s wise parenting, which he sums up in Chapter 30 by saying, “Before Jem looks at anyone else he looks at me, and I’ve tried to live so I can look squarely back at him,” ultimately wins their respect. By the end of the novel, Jem, in particular, is fiercely devoted to Atticus (Scout, still a little girl, loves him uncritically). Though his children’s attitude toward him evolves, Atticus is characterized throughout the book by his absolute consistency. He stands rigidly committed to justice and thoughtfully willing to view matters from the perspectives of others. He does not develop in the novel but retains these qualities in equal measure, making him the novel’s moral guide and voice of conscience.


Jem – If Scout is an innocent girl who is exposed to evil at an early age and forced to develop an adult moral outlook, Jem finds himself in an even more turbulent situation. His shattering experience at Tom Robinson’s trial occurs just as he is entering puberty, a time when life is complicated and traumatic enough. His disillusionment upon seeing that justice does not always prevail leaves him vulnerable and confused at a critical, formative point in his life. Nevertheless, he admirably upholds the commitment to justice that Atticus instilled in him and maintains it with deep conviction throughout the novel.

Unlike the jaded Mr. Raymond, Jem is not without hope: Atticus tells Scout that Jem simply needs time to process what he has learned. The strong presence of Atticus in Jem’s life seems to promise that he will recover his equilibrium. Although Jem is left unconscious with a broken arm after Bob Ewell’s climactic attack, the fact that Boo Radley unexpectedly comes to his aid and saves him reminds him of the good in people. Even before the end of the novel, Jem shows signs of having learned a positive lesson from the trial; for instance, at the beginning of Chapter 25, he refuses to allow Scout to squash a roly-poly bug because it has done nothing to harm her. After seeing the unfair destruction of Tom Robinson, Jem now wants to protect the fragile and harmless.

The idea that Jem resolves his cynicism and moves toward a happier life is supported by the beginning of the novel, in which a grown-up Scout remembers talking to Jem about the events that make up the novel’s plot. Scout says that Jem pinpointed the children’s initial interest in Boo Radley as the beginning of the story, strongly implying that he understood what Boo represented to them and, like Scout, managed to shed his innocence without losing his hope.

To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird To Kill A Mockingbird is a perfect example of an unsubstantiated judgment or an opinion about an individual. The prime message in the novel is that of racism, how the actions of a community, not just a parent, can affect a child. Born, Nelle Harper Lee in 1926, Monroeville, Alabama. She attended school at three different colleges where she studied law, Huntington College from 1944-1945, University of Alabama from 1945- 1949, and studied one year at Oxford University. The study of law and its principles helped her develop the way she was brought up.

Her upbringing gave her raw material to write her only book. She was the youngest of four kids. When she started off in the real world she worked as a reservation clerk with Eastern Airlines and BOAC in New York City. To concentrate on her writing she quit working as an airline clerk. In 1957 she submitted the manuscript of her book to the J.

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B. Lippincott Company. She was told that her novel consisted of a series of short stories strung together. She was urged to rewrite it. For the next two and a half-year she reworked the manuscript with the help of her editor, Tay Hohoff, and in 1960 To Kill A Mockingbird was published.

Harper Lee only wrote one book so far, and critics are waiting for her next book. There have not been as much published on the doings of Lee since 1966. Prejudice, strictly defined, a preformed and unsubstantiated judgment or opinion about an individual or a group, either favorable or unfavorable in nature. In modern usage, however, the term most often denotes an unfavorable or hostile attitude toward other people based on their membership in another social or ethnic group. The distinguishing characteristic of a prejudice is that it relies on stereotypes (oversimplified generalizations) about the group against which the prejudice is directed.

Examples of prejudice abound in history. In most cases, a prejudiced attitude held by a dominant ethnic group against a minority or disadvantaged group within the same society. The most elaborate kind of discrimination is segregationthe isolation of ethnic groups enforced by law or custom or both. Examples of segregation include the strict confinement of Jews to the ghettos of medieval European cities and the rigid race-separation laws of modern-day South Africa, but segregation can also apply to the exclusion of a member of a minority group from social clubs or from access to particular jobs or educational opportunities. The mixing of ethnic groups might be expected to lead to the rapid disappearance of prejudice, on the theory that prolonged contact between people should destroy stereotypes. In practice, however, prejudiced attitudes often have proved extremely difficult to eradicate, even when law enforces integration.

Racism today is not as strong as it was 20 years ago. There was a time where African Americans could not even drink out of the same drinking fountain as the “white” people. It is true the today racism is not as bad of an issue, but no matter who denies racism, it is still a major part of the society. Not long ago in Daytona Beach Florida, there was a trial of prejudice. The major hotel chain, The Adams Mark was charged with prejudice towards African Americans.

The Adams Mark charged double for room service, made the black guests of the hotel where wrist bands, would not allow their cars in parking garages, and most important treated them as animals. This is only one situation of prejudice that goes on this day is age, everyday someone or something is hurt with prejudice. Not only is prejudice in hotels, but it is on the street, in the schools, and in the homes of many people today. Still today there are racial fights that break out. In the schools, there are very few black children that attend public schools.

In the homes of many Americans, the issue of African Americans is a daily situation. In the book “To Kill A Mockingbird”, prejudice is an overall issue. Prejudice runs wild in Maycomb County. The town has prejudice against blacks. This is seen in the case against Tom Robinson. Robinson is wrongly accused, and loses his life due to racism in the community. Even though it is obvious, to every person in the jury, that Robinson could not have committed the crime, and that he is an upright and religious churchgoing man, he is still accused of rape and jailed.

It is obvious that he is innocent through evidence presented by Atticus, Bob Ewell is left-handed, Toms left hand is useless, etc. But since the jury “cannot” find a black man innocent over a white family they find him guilty. Prejudice against Boo Radley. No one bothers to find out about the Arthur “boo” Radley. He may seem a little scary but the town ridicules him and shuns him from society.

All the children have been raised to dear him as the town freak. If they took the time to see the world from his eyes they might not be so prejudiced to his situation. Jem and Scouts experiences with Boo Radley allowed them to learn and accept those who are different from them. As a result of being called the town freak, the children are serious to learn more about him. Boo Radley came to their aid when Scout and Jem are attacked by Bob Ewell, showing that the rumors about Boo Radley were untrue.

They gain a new respect for him, and learn to accept him though he may be a little different from them. Prejudice is every where. From hotels across the world, to little houses in Maycomb, Alabama, it is there. Wherever you turn, you better watch your back because it is going to be standing right there, and you just have to fight it off. While many people raved about this book there were still many different views. Granville Hicks, ” To Kill a Mockingbird gives a friendly but for the most part unsentimental account of life in Alabama, Lee is not concerned about writing a childhood experience she is more concerned about the perennial Southern problem.

Lees problem is to tell a story how she wants to, but has to remember she is writing a childhood experience.” Meanwhile the book was raved apone by many other people. New York Times, ” Marvelous.. Miss Lees original characters are people to cherish in this winning first novel.” The New Yorker, ” Skilled, unpretentious and totally ingenuous..though, melodramatic, acute, funny.” Boston Herald, ” Has pace and power..overflowing with life.” To Kill A Mockingbird was a very sophisticated book, and had many themes in it which some kids might not understand, yet at the same time this was not a children’s book, it is a novel for young adults to read. While you can understand that some people might not like this book, personally, I liked it. It was an unforgettable novel. In conclusion, Harper Lee did a wonderful job writing her book. It is filled with useful information, and many themes.

Prejudice is a very serious issue that needs to be stopped, or it will just keep growing and never get better. Bibliography Contemporary Literary Criticism. To Kill A Mockingbird. Vol. 12. Detroit, Michigan,1980.

Contemporary Literary Criticism. To Kill A Mockingbird. Vol. 60. Detroit, Michigan,1980. ” To Kill A Mockingbird” 4- 21 2000. www.bellmore-merrick.k12.us/mockingbird.html ” To Kill A Mockingbird” 4-23 2000. www.bookmagazine.com.

To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird The South represents a region of the United States which demonstrates relatively traditional values. For example, southern societies suggest men act like gentlemen, and women act in a polite manner and wear dresses. Such characteristics mainly emerge in small southern towns because they remain unaffected by large groups of people from different parts of the country. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird documents the life of a young girl growing up in small Maycomb, Alabama. Jean Louise Finch, also known as “Scout,” represents a young girl who attempts to find her identity. The young tomboy receives pressure from adults who insist she should conform to the traditional role of a southern lady.

Harper Lee uses nicknames, fistfighting, virile clothing, and undesirable women to portray Jean Louise’s masculinity while encouraging her to postpone becoming a lady. In traditional society, parents name children according to their gender. Common names for boys include John, Robert and James, whereas Elizabeth, Sarah, and Cathy represent standard names for girls. The author gives her main character two common female titles, Jean Louise. Many southern females have two first names which reinforces their role in society as a Southern Belle, or a traditional southern lady.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, through a child’s eyes Haper Lee develops a character named Arthur Radley. Arthur is know to the children simply as Boo . The name they have given him, depicts the way the children views him. Throughout the town of Maycomb, people twisted Boos personality and character into a terrible person. As the novel unfolds, the children finally discover the true character of Boo. But, because Arthur Radley lived in the shadows of society, the creation of the myth of the monster Boo Radley thrived.

One of the reasons for the mysteriousness of Arthur Radley leads to Miss Stephanie, who filled the children’s heads with numerous, false tales. The children’s minds are soiled with the idea that Boo looked like a horrible monster. This idea was rendered from Miss Stephanie who, in the novel, is the town gossip. She has told Jem plenty of times how Boo looks. Jem gave a reasonable description of Boo: Boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that’s why his hands were bloodstained-if you ate an animal raw you could never was the blood off. There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellowed and rotten; his eyes popped and he drooled most of the time(Lee, 13). This image of Boo was permanently etched in the childrens minds. Every time they were around the Radley house all they could think of was the six-feet-tall monster in there. Of course, Arthur did not really look like that, but any child with an imagination could not dispose of this image. The town was filled with the rumors of dangerous Boo Radley. Everyone had heard the stories of him being violent and dangerous. Jem tells the other children about a story he heard from Miss Stephanie Crawford. He explains that one day Boo was cutting some information from Maycombs newspaper to paste in his scrapbook. Then, when his father entered the room, Boo stabbed him with the scissors. Boo drove them right into his leg. Then he returned to his activities like nothing happened(Lee,11). The children always
remembered how dangerous he was. They always had to observe the house from a distance, making sure that there was no way they could get injured. Maycomb never liked Boos father, Mr. Radley. He was very strict person, including a foot washing Baptist. He never approved of Arthurs actions as a teenager. So, when Boo was shut up in his house everyone thought that he was being held against his will. But, no one would ever try to challenge Mr. Radleys authority in his house. Therefore, because of the children’s ignorance and Miss Stephanies stories, they develop the character Boo Radley.

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The idea of a person living in seclusion in Maycomb, was alien to the children who lived there. Many children were afraid of the Radleys. The stories about when and where Boo moves around to, when he secretly leaves his house, are pretty scary for the children. Jem tell Scout and Dill that Boo goes out during the night when it is pitch dark. He tells them about the time Miss Stephanie saw him looking strait at her though her window. He also explains this is the reason why Miss Rachel locks up so tight (Lee,13). The children believe that many people are afraid of Boo. Because the children hear some adults talk about Boo Radley and how bad his family is, they believe that he is dangerous also. The stories of Boo being trapped in the basement or even locked in his house, we easily believable by a six and ten year old. Nobody knew what form of intimidation Mr. Radley employed to keep Boo out of sight, but Jem figured that Mr. Radley kept him chained to the bed most of the time(Lee,11). Jem and Scout believed these tales, like they were the truth. Being innocent children, they wanted to help rescue Boo. Scout could never imagine sitting in the house all day. She gets bored on rainy days , so she can not believe how someone could stay in

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