TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Very few authors able to introduce real life themes like Harper Lee. The Los Angeles Times calls Lees Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, “Memorable… Vivid… a gentle persuasive, humor and a glowing goodness. ” This is entirely true because Lee is able to introduce various conflicts that happen in present time. In To Kill A Mockingbird, Lee denounces prejudice and racist people. Lee tries to open humanities eyes so it won’t make the same mistakes it made in the past. She attempts to teach to readers put themselves in others shoes. Harper Lee was born on
April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her amazing and rigorous masterpiece, To Kill A Mockingbird. She wrote this novel to open the eyes of humans and reveal to them the evil inside of them. Harper Lee was able to portray a dangerous setting such as Maycomb because she grew up in a dangerous environment. In order to decipher the novel, readers must analyze and comprehend Atticus Finch, Bob Ewell, symbolism, stereotype, coexistence of good and evil and the theme of killing a mockingbird. A classic masterpiece consists of genuine and unique characters.
Harper Lee ses characters with these qualities such as Atticus Finch. Atticus is an important lawyer in Maycomb. With his strongly held convictions, wisdom, and empathy, Atticus functions as the novel’s moral backbone. When there is dirty work to be done in town, Atticus voluntarily does it. He is extremely polite and has strong values. Atticus has to be extremely patient to live with a prejudice and racist community. Atticus remained a static character through the novel. Usually that is something bad, but in this case it is an extremely good thing. He doesn’t let the community influence him in a negative ay, but in a positive way.
The communities flaws help Atticus is who he is. He is like a ray of light in the community’s shadow of ignorance. He is one of the only people who don’t Judge and stereotype a person by their race or color, while interacting with people who practice stereotyping. Harper Lee uses Atticus to give readers a message. He tells scout that she has to “walk around in people’s skin. “Harper Lee wants to put this into the readers mind. “l simply want to tell you that there are some men in this world who were born to do our unpleasant Jobs for us. Your father’s one of them…
Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a negro comes up, is something I won’t pretend to understand… You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-“Sir? – ‘until you climbed into hiss skin and walked around in it’… ” (Lee pgs 288, 1 17, 39) Despite the fact that Atticus is such an exemplary character, he has his flaws. Atticus bought Jem and scout rifles at their young age putting everyone they interact with in danger. He hates confrontation. He ignores that the KKK exists in Maycomb. He thinks Bob Ewell got his revenge by spitting in his face.
Atticus underestimates bobs plan of revenge. “They were from Atticus who had written uncle Jack too gets them to get them for us… ‘Jem and I got air rifles’… ‘Is that tree dyin? Why no son. I don’t think so’… ‘ mr. Radley says it was dyin’, ‘ Well maybe it is. I’m sure mr. Radley knows more about his trees than we do. ‘ ‘ Never heard of any Catholics in Maycomb either,’ said Atticus, ‘ your confusing that with something else Way back about nineteen-twenty there was a Klan, but it was a political organization more than anything,’… ‘ Hess hadd his fling with about everybody now, so he ought to be satisfied.
He’ll settle down when the weather changes. ‘… ” (Lee pgs 105, 106, 84,196,335) Bob Ewell is the current head of a family that has been “the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations”. Considered human trash by the Maycomb , the Ewells live in a shack out by the dump. Ewell has no desire to improve his life, or the lives of his eight motherless children; instead, he spends his welfare checks on whiskey and has the local landowners turn a blind eye to his poaching activities out of pity for his hungry children. On the one hand, Bob seems an object of pity in that he was doomed from the moment he was born an
Ewell, but on the other, he’s such an obnoxious and mean character that it’s hard to feel sorry for him. While the town’s view that he’s Just an Ewell, and Ewells are trash, is their way of making sense of his behavior, it also makes it easy for the town to avoid responsibility for trying to help him or his children: no point in offering any aid to someone who’s not going to change. Unfortunately, Bob Ewell is a static character. He doesn’t change his vulgar ways. All through the novel, he is a drunk and rapes his daughters. ” ‘She says she never kissed a grown man before an’ she might as well kiss nigger.
She says what her papa do to her don’t count. ‘… Atticus said the Ewells had been the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations… ” (Lee pgs 260, 40) Symbolism is the practice of representing things by symbols, or of investing things with a symbolic meaning or character. A symbol is an object, action, or idea that represents something other than itself. Harper Lee’s use of symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird is one of its defining characteristics. In To Kill a Mocking Bird, symbolism is used excessively well by Lee to communicate her complex thoughts with great ease.
Lee has made the reader think about the true meaning of any symbol in the novel, and to understand the symbols in their full completeness. Even the title of the book is an example of symbolism. Throughout the book many innocent people are hurt or destroyed by evil. Atticus said “Shoot all the blueJays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” pg 99. What Atticus meant by this statement was that mockingbirds aren’t harmful at all, they only do one thing; sing their hearts out for people to enjoy and that is why it is a sin. In To Kill A
Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the mockingbird symbolizes Boo Radley and Tom Robinson, who were both peaceful people who never did any harm. This connection between the novel’s title and its main theme is made explicit several times in the novel: after Tom Robinson is shot, Mr. Underwood compares his death to “the senseless slaughter of songbirds,” and at the end of the book Scout thinks that hurting Boo Radley would be like “shootin’ a mockingbird. Tom Robinson is the main example among several innocents destroyed carelessly or deliberately throughout the novel. He is Judged mainly because he is a negro.
He is accused of a crime that he is innocent of. Tom becomes an important symbol of the innocent mockingbird in the story. His trial brings many different conflicts outside of the courtroom and highlights several injustices within the town. His arrest and subsequent conviction brings the issues of racism and injustice to light in the book. Boo Radley, like Tom, is judged and criticized unfairly. Boo Radley went through his life never wanting to hurt a fly. He left gum, pennies, and wax dolls for Scout and Jem. He sewed Jem’s pants and left them on the fence so he could get them easily.
He also saved Scout’s and Jem’s lives while risking his own. Boo was a fragile and gentle person. Throughout the novel, Scout, Jem, and Dill are curious about the “mysterious” Boo Radley because he never comes outside from his house or associates with anyone in the neighborhood. The children are afraid of him because of all the stories they hear about him from the people in Maycomb. After the Tom Robinson trial, Jem and Scout start to have a different understanding of Boo Radley. Boo Radley is mentally disabled. If he went out into the light with the racist people of Maycomb, his own neighbors would Judge im even if he didn’t do anything .
They begin to understand that if Boo Radley were to come out of his house, he would be even more heavily critized. A historical allusion is the mention of a historical fact. Harper Lee uses historical allusion so the reader can visualize the era and time that the story was happening. This literacy device helps readers understand the difficulties the characters deal with. One of the most mentioned historical allusions in the novel is The Civil War. It is first referred to as the disturbance between the North and the South.
The civil war was a terrible rift in ur nation, fought between the northern states and the southern states. The people’s opinions were so divided over the issues of the civil war that, in some families, brothers held grudges against another brother. Eventually, the south succumbed to the north and surrendered on April 9th, 1865 but not before the war had caused 618,000 deaths. The time setting of To Kill A Mockingbird is right after the civil war. Another historical allusion is The Great Depression. The Great Depression is the worldwide economic downturn that began in 1929 and lasted until about 1939.
It was he longest and most severe depression ever experienced by the industrialized Western world, sparking fundamental changes in economic institutions, macroeconomic policy, and economic theory. Although it originated in the United States, the Great Depression caused drastic declines in output, severe unemployment, and acute deflation in almost every country of the world. Its social and cultural effects were no less staggering, especially in the United States, where the Great Depression represented the harshest adversity faced by Americans since the Civil War.
The characters in the novel undergo the hardships of The Great Depression. To Kill A Mocking bird is an exploration of human morality, and the novel presents a constant conversation regarding the evil and good side of people. Atticus plays the role of a teacher to his children and a role model to the town. He believes that people usually contain good and evil, but good will usually prevail. Atticus teaches this to his children, but also to the town, as he works to defend Tom Robinson. In the racist town of Maycomb, in the heart of Americas south during the Depression, this is almost impossible to Atticus.
Atticus struggles on because he elieves that one day goodness will prevail. The novel tries to explore the question of whether people are essentially good or essentially evil. He tries to teach this ultimate moral lesson to Jem and Scout to show them that it is possible to live with conscience without losing hope or becoming cynical. In this way, Atticus is able to admire Mrs. Dubose’s courage even while deploring her racism. Scout’s progress as a character in the novel is defined by her gradual development toward understanding Atticus’s lessons as they begin to show effect when, in the final chapters, Scout at last sees Boo
Radley as a human being. Her newfound ability to view the world from his perspective ensures that she will not become Jaded as she loses her innocence. The title of the novel alerts us of the importance of this theme. It comes from an old proverb that “it’s a sin to kill a mocking bird” The children first hear this from Atticus, when he gives them air rifles as Christmas presents (chapter 10). He tells them they should shoot only at tin cans , but seeing that may shoot birds allows them to shoot very common blueJays (regarded in the USA rather as pigeons are in the I-JK ) but not ocking birds . modern readers, especially in the UK , where many bird species are protectedby law should note that hunting birds is considered acceptable sports in most parts of Europe and in the USA even today. ln the 1930’s most children would have seen it as normal to hunt animals and birds. ) Scout is puzzled by this remark and asks Miss. Maudie atkinson about it. Miss maudie says that ” Mockiongbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat peoples gardens, they don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.
That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. The wrongness of killing the bird is evedent, but it becomes a metaphor for the wrongness of harming innocent and vunerable people. This novel is an absolute masterpiece! It is one of the few novels that can address real life issues. This novel has a lot to learn from. For example, it teaches us that we shouldn’t harm vunerable people or Judge them for there disabilities. Harper Lee did an excellent Job telling us to put ourselves in other people’s shoes to truly understand them. I recommend this novel for anyone of any age to read!