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To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel by Harper Lee

Set in a small Alabaman town in the 1940s, the novels strength lies in demonstrating how bigotry works through stereotyping. Slap a label on thats a general condemnation and then you neednt look at the unique human being behind it. The title of the book pinpoints this theme: to kill a mockingbird, says one of the characters, is a sin (because mockingbirds) dont eat up peoples gardens, dont nest in corncribs, they dont do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. But a mockingbird is a bird, birds eat up crops, therefore mockingbirds are fair game.

When the stereotype wins, justice loses and the mockingbird, a victim, not a vandal, is dead. That society is full of human mockingbirds, stereotyped and then unjustly punished, is the theme of the book. One mockingbird is literally killed. The alternative is to find the individual behind the label. Before judging anybody, says the novel, you should climb into his skin and walk around in it so that you see the world from his viewpoint. Tolerance, therefore, is not a passive virtue. It involves a positive act of identification, always requiring sensitivity, and sometimes great courage.

The children through whose eyes the action is seen demonstrate this repeatedly. Once, for example, they learn to overcome their horror of a dying neighbour (an ancient, dribbling, convulsing morphine addict). They eventually stop seeing her from the outside and came to admire her for her internal qualities, but its a tough lesson. And if tolerance is an active virtue, the novel goes on to suggest, then punishment can be an active vice if it is motivated by negative emotions like ignorance or fear.

Inappropriate punishment like the racists injustices to the black community creates more problems than they pretend to solve. Plainly, the incident is meant to impress upon the reader that Finch chooses nonviolence through strength, not weakness. But a much more interesting and genuine dilemma would have been posed had an antigun Finch been faced with a mad dog when he didnt know one end of a gun from another. Finchs chief dislike, though, is racism well, of a sort: Theres nothing more sickening to me, he says, than a low-grade white man wholl take advantage of a Negros ignorance.

Is he really talking about racial equality? Sounds to me more like noblesse oblige. In the climactic courtroom scene. Finch is defence lawyer to a young black man unjustly accused of assaulting a white girl. The true assailant turns out to be her father. The defendant is the most chivalrous, submissive, clean-living young black that ever lived, and the girls father a thoroughly nasty piece of work. Perhaps, twenty-odd years ago when Harper Lee wrote the book, she couldnt risk moral ambiguities. But it seems a pity that she replaces one set of stereotypes with another.

Cant a black man be innocent of assault without having to be perfect on all counts including perfect servility? To Kill A Mockingbird is a novel based on the childhood of a young girl. Bob Ewell, Boo Radley, Tom Robinson and Scout were all main characters. Bob Ewell is a mean, racist man who accuses Tom of raping his daughter. Boo Radley is a crazy person, so the children fear him. Tom Robinson is a black man who is trying to survive in the town with racism problems. Scout is the young girl who tells the story of what happens in her town.

Bob has problems with Tom, so he said that he saw Tom rape his daughter. Scout has problems with Boo because she wanted to be friends and he didn’t. My favorite character is Scout, because she wanted to know who Boo Radley really is, and she was determined to find out. If I could relate to a character in the story, it would be Atticus. Atticus is a man who took up the challenge of a new type of legal case. He, a white man, is willing to defend a black man. Atticus took the challenge because if he doesn’t than he couldn’t hold up his head in town, and he couldn’t hold his morals and principals.

He felt that Tom Robinson was innocent, and he knew that Tom wasn’t going to be found innocent by the people. I am also taking up a challenge to become a U. S. Marine. I want to challenge myself to this because it will be a good thing for me. I want to be able to learn leadership, self-reliance, new skills, honesty and loyalty. My favorite part is when the Ewell kids sat on the black side of the court, because they wanted to hear the decision of the judge. They knew Tom was innocent. At that point the town was convinced that Tom Robinson was not guilty of the crime.

Harper Lee seems to speak to readers of all ages, and no matter how many times this novel is read, the reader will never cease to feel compelled by the message that it delivers. The story is narrated by Scout, the daughter of Atticus Finch, a criminal defense attorney in the Deep South who is assigned to defend a black man in his trial for raping a white girl. The novel tells the story of how Scout and her family endure the threatening ridicule from their community for Atticus’ loyalty to this man.

While Harper Lee delivers the message that black people were discriminated against in the Deep South, the more notable message was the struggle that whites endured when they chose to side with the blacks. There are some extremely comical moments in this book involving Scout and her brother. There are also several other interesting sub-plots that help describe the morals, beliefs, and problems in the Deep South during that period of time. Though, my favorite part was Atticus Finch’s closing argument during the trial. His monologue constitutes some of the best pages of literature I’ve ever read.

A contemporary classic, Harper Lee’s only novel is the prime literary example of the racial inequalities, hatred and simple unfairness that existed in the American Deep South during the 1930s. Its exploration of this type of subject matter is unrivalled at the standard it set, the book provides an insight into a specific case and town in which the racial divide is so stark as beggars belief by modern standards, but this harsh widespread reality quickly becomes accepted as the book continues, this is any town in the South of America in the ’30s.

Tom Robinson, a black man accused of the statutory rape of a white girl by a white father, never stood a chance in a court with a jury of twelve men, good, honest but white. His case is told through the eyes of the defending lawyer’s daughter, making the case equally as intriguing, maturing and horrifically sobering for the reader as the narrator. The personal struggle of the defendant (Tom Robinson) and his torment is never clearly displayed to the reader, a clever ploy by the author, drawing the reader’s attention to even the slightest detail. What is known, however, are the feelings and torments of the defending lawyer’s family?

Scout’s commentary is, at times, completely unrelated to the case (making the facts of the case hard to pick out) but the character of the lawyer (Atticus Finch), his daughter (Scout), his son (Jem) and their friends and neighbours are described in detail and a clear picture of them and how they are affected by the case can built in the reader’s mind. Enabling the society in which the case is taking place to be understood, thereby easing the understanding of how Tom will never be assuaged of the punishment for the crime he blatantly did not commit.

Mainly, symbolism is used widely throughout this book To Kill a Mockingbird. The author, Harper Lee defined mockingbird as a sin if you kill it because of its innocence. Atticus informed his children Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit em, but remember its a sin to kill a mockingbird. Miss Madie assisted him by saying mockingbirds dont do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They dont eat up peoples gardens, dont nest in corncribs, they dont do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.

Thats why its a sin to kill a mockingbird. Blue jays are thought to be mean and destructive to crops but mockingbirds are thought to be harmless and only sing beautiful songs. Tom Robinson symbolizes a mockingbird because he was a harmless and innocent man who is a sufferer of persecution and prejudice. What sentenced him to death was a system under which he lived, the system of segregation. Mr. Underwood simply figured it was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting, or escaping.

He likened Toms death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children. Miss Gates and her students talked about current events and how Hitler had a dictatorship where as America has a democracy. She was getting all riled up about how Hitler treated the Jews like crap even though she doesnt think about the people in town and how bad they were treating the blacks. Tom and a mockingbird were both defenseless, and for both of them to be killed by either 17 shots on an escape or by a child with air rifles are both sins.

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