To Kill A Mocking Bird English Literature Essay

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I could never ask you to mind me again Harper Lee, Page 76. Harper Lees To Kill a Mockingbird was about a little girl named Jean Louise Scout Finch and her kid brother, Jeremy Atticus (Jem) Finch. The two had many adventures throughout the summer with a friend named Charles Baker Harris, also known as Dill. On their adventures they tried to lure out their neighbor Arthur Radley, also known as Boo Radley, who was supposedly shut in his house because he had gotten into some serious trouble with the law when he was younger. Scout and Jem's childhood ended abruptly as their father, Atticus Finch, took on the case of a black man who had been accused of raping a white woman. As a result of her father taking on the case, Scout was bullied by kids at her school. Everyone called Atticus a "nigger-lover" (Lee, Page 83). Many might think that it was because Atticus took on this case, and that his kids are getting in so much trouble. Atticus is an uncompromising and respectable father who has set an example for his children, Jem and Scout.

Maycomb, Alabama is a predominately white town in the Deep South where racism was unrestrained. During this time period, many African Americans were accused of crimes, and were found guilty, simply because of the color of their skin. Maycomb's townspeople believed that Tom Robinson, an African American, was guilty of rape, and no one questioned this because of the color of his skin. Simply because he is not white, Tom had no credibility in the case against him. Atticus, an uncompromising person, could not let other people's opinions affect his judgment in his case. He believed that everyone deserved a fair chance, no matter the color of their skin. He disregarded the color of Tom's skin and defended him like the honest person that Atticus believed that he was. He did not care what other people said to him. People on the street called him a "nigger-lover" (Lee, Page 83) and told him "he defend[ed] niggers" (Lee, Page 74). To him, a person's skin color did not change their humanity.

Atticus did not care that people talked about him. People would shout derogatory names at him one day, but on the next he would say simply respond with a "good morning". He believes that people each have had their own struggles and backgrounds, and therefore had the right to act rude. For example, Mrs. Dubose, who was their neighbor, was trying to break her addiction to morphine. Because of her struggle with her addiction, she lashed out daily. She would yell to Jem and Scout that they would never amount to anything. Despite this fact, every evening Atticus would greet her with no anger at all. When Bob Ewell spits in Atticus's face and swears revenge, Atticus had nothing to say but "I wish Bob Ewell wouldn't chew tobacco" (Lee, Page 217). When Jem told Atticus that what had happened between them was bothering him, Atticus responded with saying "I destroyed his last shed of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with……So if spitting in my face and threating me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating that's something I'll gladly take" (Lee, Page 218). Atticus would rather get spit on, than someone take it out on their kid.

Atticus Finch took on the case of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of rape, even though he knew that he would not win the case. Atticus took the case because if he had not, then he would not have been able to look at his kids the same way. He told Scout "I could never ask you to mind me again" (Page 76). He wanted to teach his kids to never mistreat something when it has not harmed you. He set a good example for his kids, although many thought he was rotting their brains with nonsense "It was heartbreaking the way Atticus Finch let her children run wild" (Lee, Page 103). When Scout wanted to smash a bug that was in their house, Jem stopped her. "Why couldn't I mash him? [Scout] asked…" Jem responded that it was "…because they didn't bother you" (Lee, Page 238). Jem learned, from Atticus, not to shoot mockingbirds. "Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" (Lee, Page 90). When Scout asked Miss Maudie, a neighbor, why it was such a sin to kill a mockingbird, Miss Maudie responded with "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, 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" (Lee, Page 90). When Atticus was a boy they had called him "One-Shot" (Lee, Page 98), but he never mentioned it to Jem and Scout. Jem told Scout "I reckon if he'd wanted us to know it, he'da told us. If he was proud of it, he'da told us" (Lee, Page 98). He killed a dog with one shot and he wasn't proud of what he did. "He put his gun down when realized that God had given him an unfair advantage over most living things" (Lee, Page 98). To Atticus, being able to kill something with one shot was one thing in life that shouldn't be bragged about, because he did not want his kids to grow up thinking that killing someone or something was a talent.

Atticus Finch from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird was a respectful, uncompromising father who leads as an example to his kids Jem and Scout. Overall, he was an amazing father to his two kids. Throughout the novel, Atticus taught Jem and Scout lessons to carry out through their lives. He taught them what it means to never "kill a mockingbird". Overall, I felt that Atticus was incredibly inspiring to take a stand, despite the harsh and critical views of his society.