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A Brief Analysis of to Kill a Mockingbird

Essay by   •  December 17, 2013  •  Book/Movie Report  •  2,314 Words (10 Pages)  •  1,322 Views

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Abstract

In light of human moral theory, discussion is made between old and young, good and evil in the novel of To Kill A Mockingbird which showed the story of a white law who help an African-American man against a falsely raping crime accused by a white woman. At the moment, the Civil Rights Movement was well on its way toward significantly revolutionizing how the U.S. conceived of race. While Mockingbird's message of standing up for what's right even when the costs are high still receives acclaim, not everyone agrees that it holds the moral high ground. While some see the novel as a powerful statement against racism, others see it as reproducing racism in a less obvious form. No matter which side a reader leans towards, the strong reactions the novel provokes just go to show that its influence remains strong even today.

Key word: To Kill A Mockingbird; old and young; good and evil; moral; racial discrimination

1. Introduction

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was instantly successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author's observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old.

The story takes place during three years of the Great Depression in the fictional "tired old town" of Maycomb, Alabama. The narrator, six-year-old Scout Finch, lives with her older brother Jem and their widowed father Atticus, a middle-aged lawyer. Jem and Scout befriend a boy named Dill who visits Maycomb to stay with his aunt for the summer. The three children are terrified of, and fascinated by, their neighbor, the reclusive "Boo" Radley. The adults of Maycomb are hesitant to talk about Boo and, for many years, few have seen him. The children feed each other's imagination with rumors about his appearance and reasons for remaining hidden, and they fantasize about how to get him out of his house. Following two summers of friendship with Dill, Scout and Jem find that someone is leaving them small gifts in a tree outside the Radley place. Several times, the mysterious Boo makes gestures of affection to the children, but, to their disappointment, never appears in person.

Atticus is appointed by the court to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. Although many of Maycomb's citizens disapprove, Atticus agrees to defend Tom to the best of his ability. Other children taunt Jem and Scout for Atticus' actions, calling him a "nigger-lover". Scout is tempted to stand up for her father's honor by fighting, even though he has told her not to. For his part, Atticus faces a group of men intent on lynching Tom. This danger is averted when Scout, Jem, and Dill shame the mob into dispersing by forcing them to view the situation from Atticus' and Tom's points of view.

Because Atticus does not want them to be present at Tom Robinson's trial, Scout, Jem, and Dill watch in secret from the colored balcony. Atticus establishes that the accusers--Mayella and her father, Bob Ewell, the town drunk--are lying. It also becomes clear that the friendless Mayella was making sexual advances towards Tom and her father caught her in the act. Despite significant evidence of Tom's innocence, the jury convicts him. Jem's faith in justice is badly shaken, as is Atticus', when a hopeless Tom is shot and killed while trying to escape from prison.

Humiliated by the trial, Bob Ewell vows revenge. He spits in Atticus' face on the street, tries to break into the presiding judge's house, and menaces Tom Robinson's widow. Finally, he attacks the defenseless Jem and Scout as they walk home from the school Halloween pageant. Jem's arm is broken in the struggle, but amid the confusion, someone comes to the children's rescue. The mysterious man carries Jem home, where Scout realizes that he is the reclusive Boo Radley.

Maycomb's sheriff arrives and discovers that Bob Ewell has been killed in the struggle. The sheriff argues with Atticus about the prudence and ethics of holding Jem or Boo responsible. Atticus eventually accepts the sheriff's story that Ewell simply fell on his own knife. Boo asks Scout to walk him home, and after she says goodbye to him at his front door, he disappears again. While standing on the Radley porch, Scout imagines life from Boo's perspective and regrets that they never repaid him for the gifts he had given them.

2. The different between old and young people

In this novel I can see the differences and similarities between the old and young people. In the novel, the young ones believed that innocence should be free of displaying their pure minds. In most cases, represented by this book, the older people have lost the thought that all men are created equal, because of the years that they have had to deal with and experience and they also have lost much of the innocence that they had when they were a child. The children may not understand everything that happens, like with Boo Radley or the trial until they become older.

In contrast, the older people may not understand the meanings of the children because they have had to deal with and experience and they have gradually changed over the years. Some examples of the age comparisons and contrasts are how older people tend to let resentments and the past interfere with their reasoning; forgetting all men are created equal, also like when evil corrupts the minds of some of the children and corrupts Boo Radley, and how Atticus and Jem have very similar understandings and reasoning as in equality and justice.

During the trial I begin to see how the older men disregard evidence and justice. They let prejudice and the past overcome their reasoning, although, the children see the innocent as innocent regardless of race. In my opinion, the children, even though young, they have a stronger sense of right and wrong than the adults. Supporting the fact that as people get older, no matter who they are, some of their innocence will be lost, because time changes everything. In the novel, the younger people believed the innocent should be free displaying their pure minds, however, older people lost the thought that all men are created equal because of the years that they have had to deal with and experience.

Just like what we are. If you look back, it doesn't matter what age you are, you will see so many changes even though it feels like nothing has changed, but still thinking back on it you notice it has.

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