Growing Up In An Unfair World English Literature Essay


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Harper Lee says many things in her book, To Kill a Mockingbird. She demonstrates that as people grow up, their perspectives change. You usually start to see people in a more mature light; enabling you to create well thought decisions and understand the world in a new way. She shows this by what happens to Scout throughout the book and how she changes; how she turns in to a person who is capable of "seeing" others. There are moments in the book where Scout doesn't understand simple things about people-making her seem more immature-and moments where she understands things even some adults wouldn't which has the opposite effect.

One more event is when Tom Robinson is convicted. Everyone is very solemn in the court room, with the only exception being Scout. This is because she doesn't understand what had just happened; what has continued to happen. People start crying, yet no one looks very surprised. Scout observes Jem as the jury delivers the guilty verdict and according to Scout "…his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each "guilty" was a separate stab between them" (282). Scout phrased this as if she could see the pain he was experiencing but she couldn't understand it. This is a good example of how Scout is early on. While everyone around her is upset by what has happened, she is unfazed. That is why this event has significance in the development of Scout, because it shows her in ignorance.

An example of an event where Scout understands more than what one would expect from her is at the end. When Arthur Radley is in the Finch's house after saving Jem and Scout from Bob Ewell Atticus says that they should move out to the porch to talk. Scout doesn't understand why at first but then she gets that Atticus wants to sit outside so the lighting in the living room doesn't hurt Arthur. This is in stark contrast to the past events in the book where Scout sometimes misses the easiest of concepts.

Another example is also at the end of the book. This is when Sheriff Tate is talking about Bob "stumbling and falling on his knife". Why he is saying this is explained by himself "[M]aybe you'll say it's my duty to tell the town all about it and not hush it up. Know what'd happen then? All the ladies in Maycomb including my wife'd be at his door bringing him angel food cakes. To my way of thinkin', Mr. Finch, taking the one man who's done you and this town a great service and dragging him with his shy ways into the limelight-to me that's a sin" (369-370) He is talking about why he will say what happened and Atticus shouldn't fight it, because it's the thing that Tate knows Atticus in his right state of mind would agree is the right thing. Scout's next line is the culmination of her maturing in this book, and this line is to Atticus about what Sheriff Tate says about Arthur "Well, it would be sort of like killing a mocking bird, wouldn't it?" This excerpt shows that Scout is now capable of understanding other people. It also comes to the other point that sometimes Scout understands things before adults; which at those points shows how mature she really has become in the short few years we've seen her in Maycomb.

As we've followed the lives of three normal children from a small town in the south, we've seen many examples of an important message being said. This message is very important even in reality. It shows that even though we all start out as immature, innocent people, most of us start to be able to understand and truly "see" people. Harper Lee is very successful at conveying this. Through many events in this book she shows us how Scout, and really everyone, evolves as a person. We've all seen people understand things before us; we've all understood something or someone before another. This is why this message is important because it relates to nearly everyone's life in some way or another; showing the parallels between Macomb and our own town. Lee is telling a meaningful message with her story, and all you have to do to is be listening.

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