"To Kill a Mockingbird" Analysis

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We live in a world that racism was and still is really common. Everywhere you go you will see some kind of racism, no matter where you are. But, the thing is that many people judge someone just by the way they look, just because they are different, without actually get to know that person. In the book T to Kkill a Mockingbird, the author Harper Lee is trying to show people what real racism is like and how things were when she was little growing up in Monroeville (Maycomb), Alabama in 1936. So this book talks about two kids called; Jean Louise Finch (Scout) and Jeremy Finch (Jem), living in Maycomb with their father Atticus Finch and their housekeeper Calpurnia. While growing up they start to understand what is racism and in what kind of world they were living in.

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So living in a place full of judgement, their was kid which was an outsider called Arthur “Boo” Radley, which is all hidden in mystery because he didn’t want to live in the outside world. He never went out to light (meaning in the day) that’s why people started creating rumors about him. In the kids imaginations he was more likely like a monster that if you went to his house he will kill you, of course that was stuff that they heard from people but, they didn’t have seen Boo do something like that (Because they have actually never seen him). Boo was a person that was “famous” in the town of Maycomb, everyone would talk about him all the time, saying things like “Boo drove the scissors into his parent’s leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities” (Lee 13). Even Scout and Jem judge Boo even though they didn’t know him. But, while the story is being read you can see how they begin liking Boo and seeing that he is actually a great kid that helped them when Jem almost got killed by Bob Ewell. Jem said something really interesting to scout about Boo after he saved them and they realizing that he was a great kid, “Scout, I think I’m beginning to understand something. I think I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up all this time . . . it’s because he wants to stay inside.” (Lee 304), this meaning that he understood why Arthur didn’t want to get to the outside world, and it’s because the world when you really get to know it is really harmful and dangerous, and people want to get you down if they don’t agree with you or if they are just RACIST. So Boo just prefered staying out of all that problems. Scout and Jem understood the importance of not judging before you know someone, with this experience they learned that people (counting themselves) judge by instinct because is a thing that you just do it. But, they said they will not judge again without getting to know the situation in which the other person is in.

Getting back to talk about injustice, justice and racism. We are know going to talk about a very special character which is Tom Robinson, the man being accused of rape (which he didn’t commit), and the man that was shot dead trying to escape prison. You may be asking yourself why do we come to the three subjects named before? Well, #1 injustice; is something we can really relate when talking about Robinson because he was accused of committing a crime that he actually never did, and although there were prove in court saying that he was innocent, the court decided that he was still going to prison and that he was “guilty”. So this is were racism connects; if Tom Robinson was a white man most probably is that court and people wouldn’t say that he is a rapist having evidence telling that he is not. Just because he is a “negro” people judge him and say things that are not true, things that they are trying to convince themselves that they are. Robinsons lawyer was Mr.Finch which we can tell that he is certainly not racist because, first of all, his housekeeper is an african american which he doesn’t treat her like an animal or something similar. And second because he is trying to help Tom win the case and continue with his life. Like already said before, Tom lost the case and got killed while trying to escape prison, just by trying to help a girl called Mayella Ewell (white) that was lonely (with NO intention to rape her). Bob Ewell, Mayella’s Father's states that he “saw” everything, when he doesn’t know all the story. “I seen that black n****r yonder ruttin’ on my Mayella!”(49 Lee), he said, but the the other part of the story is that Mayella was trying to seduce Tom, but then in court acted like the victim. In my opinion the kids (Jem and Scout) had a good perspective about the “negros” thanks to their father which is not racist and Calpurnia which show kids that black people shouldn’t be treated like animals. Throughout the story you will see that Jem and Scout, seeing their father trying to win the case in the court, feel sorry for Tom because they knew that he was not guilty but, they also said like “after all he is just a negro” meaning like, well whatever, things happen for a reason. Thanks god, they change their opinion to the negros/black men on the end of the story.

Another case in which the kids Scout and Jem judged someone without knowing them was with Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose, she was a harsh women to the kids and Mr.Finch. The kids will be walking past her house and will say hey, she would get mad and say “Don’t you say hey to me, you ugly girl! You say good afternoon, Mrs. Dubose!” (Lee 133). Mr. Finch would be nice to Mrs. Dubose even thought she was rude and angry with him and his kids. Atticus knew that Mrs.Dubose was ill and that she was old, so he said to the kids “Whatever she says to you, it’s your job not to let her make you mad”, which is kind of cute how he is showing the kids how to be a gentleman and a lady. Not being rude to an old lady that’s just really ill with nothing else to do, like a famous quote says “Do not do what you do not like to be done”, showing Mrs.Dubose that you are kind maybe one day she will start giving the kindness back. Thanks to Jem and a problem in Mrs.Dubose bushes, Atticus said to Scout and Jem that they had to read to her for a whole month. The kids, while reading to her they began seeing who she really was. She had her own view about things, a lot different from mine, maybe...son, I wanted you to read to her because I wanted you to learn something from her” (28 Lee). Atticus Finch had a reason why he had send the kids read to Mrs.Dubose and it was because he wanted the kids to see what real courage is like. Atticus told the kids that Mrs.Dubose fought against her addiction Morphine and that she fought with it to the last second she was alive. “She was the bravest person I ever knew” said Atticus to the kids.

To kill a mockingbird is a novel which clearly shows how powerful racism and injustice can be. What it can get people to do just because they don’t like your skin color. The character I liked the most in this novel was Atticus Finch, I believe that he always saw the good on people, but he also saw the bad. He was certainly not racist and tried to help Tom Robinson win the case and saw the good part of Mrs.Dubose, the lady that was rude with him and his kids. I believe that Harper Lee wanted to show the importance of the quote “ don’t judge a book by its cover”, all the town (counting Scout and Jem) judged Arthur “Boo” Radley because he didn’t want to leave in the chaos of the outside world but, that is what they didn’t know before. Also because people judge Tom Robinson because he was a “negro” and a “rapist” when the truth is that he was not (and they had prove). And last but not least we come to the part when Scout and Jem judge Mrs.Dubose without actually knowing what was going on in her life.

Works cited

  1. Lee, H. (1960). To Kill a Mockingbird. J. B. Lippincott & Co.
  2. Fyfe, C. (2001). "’To Kill a Mockingbird’ and the matter of Southern memory." Southern Cultures, 7(4), 69-83.
  3. Malin, J. C. (2006). "Mockingbirds and Misconduct: Understanding Atticus Finch." Alabama Law Review, 57, 625-653.
  4. Smiley, J. (2010). "Race and racism in 'To Kill a Mockingbird.'" In T. A. Carlson (Ed.), Critical Insights: To Kill a Mockingbird (pp. 90-104). Salem Press.
  5. Stone, R. A. (2010). "To Kill a Mockingbird: Lessons in Courage." In T. A. Carlson (Ed.), Critical Insights: To Kill a Mockingbird (pp. 61-76). Salem Press.
  6. Banks, M. (2011). "’To Kill a Mockingbird’: A historical perspective." The History Teacher, 44(2), 211-225.
  7. Hovet, T. (2014). "Moral growth and maturation in To Kill a Mockingbird." Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 58(1), 20-29.
  8. Wilson, E. (2015). "’I Ain't Never Seen No Jury Decide in Favor of a Colored Man Over a White Man’: Race and Justice in To Kill a Mockingbird." International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Research, 4(1), 33-46.
  9. Howard, J. (2017). "’To Kill a Mockingbird’ and the Difficulty of Film Adaptation." In J. M. Welsh & J. Howard (Eds.), A companion to literature, film, and adaptation (pp. 354-371). Wiley Blackwell.
  10. Levey, L. (2020). "Harper Lee's ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and the Myth of the Southern Hero." Journal of Popular Culture, 53(2), 454-468.

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