Moral Growth in To Kill a Mockingbird

The novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a book that takes many turns which makes it not easy to put down. The story is told by Scout Finch who is the daughter of the main character, Atticus Finch. The story is focused around a trial where Atticus Finch has to defend Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson is a man being accused of raping a women. In Maycomb, Alabama at the time, racism was a problem. The color of Tom’s skin is what brings main comments and questions up. The book goes through the struggles that Atticus has when defending Tom Robinson. This trial brings out the best and the ultimate worst of different people. For Jem and Scout, the ways they see the world changes after the trial. The novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” exemplifies contrasting personalities and symbolism to make a moral novel that can be learned from.

Harper Lee was born in Alabama on April 28, 1926. Her father, Amasa Coleman, was a lawyer just like Atticus Finch in the book. Many of the people that were part of Harper Lee’s life were also conveyed in the book. Another example is her older brother. In the book Scout has an older brother who is adventurous yet careful at times. Harper Lee grew up in Alabama and wrote the book around 1960. At this time African Americans were being held from their natural rights that they had. The Emancipation Proclamation was only issued in 1963. As Harper Lee grew up in Alabama at this time, she saw much discrimination against African Americans which led to inspiration for the book. Harper Lee attended college to become a lawyer like her father but dropped out to pursue her writing career. Truman Capote was a writer who was part of Harper Lee’s life. His summer visits inspired the character Dill in the story. Many of the characters and conflicts of the story reflect on what Harper Lee saw throughout her life.

Harper Lee uses characters that have personalities that can be . For example Scout is a young girl who not afraid to say anything. She doesn’t understand many things but still says things about it. Jem is her older brother who is more mature. Jem is more understanding about what happens around him. He is very particular about what Atticus thinks of him. This leads to Atticus who is an older father. He is very modest and true to his word. Through all his struggles in the book he stays true to what he thinks is right. For example he says courage is, “it’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you see it through no matter what.” Quotes like these make Atticus a very big role model for the kids. In the novel, when Atticus was confronted by Bob Ewell, he had a choice. Bob Ewell was so mad that Atticus was defending a black man that he spit on his face. Atticus stood there and didn’t do anything back. He took the shot Bob gave and retuned it with nothing. This shows the character and moral values Atticus has. Atticus also says it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird because they don’t do anything wrong but make music for others.

The symbol of a mockingbird is used with the characters Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. Both of them do not do anything harmful but are in their own way “killed”. Boo Radley is a mysterious man who is described as a “malevolent phantom”. He is know for kill his father with scissors. Many people will not go near his house. He is never seen and no one knows much about him. The kids come to see that this is not entirely true. Boo leaves gifts for the kids in a tree. This shows the irony in the accusations the people put on Boo Radley. He also covers Scout with a blanket, when no one is looking, at the fire in the neighborhood. It shows that he isn’t really just a mean guy but one who is misunderstood. Tom Robinson is accused for a crime that he had nothing to do with because of his class and color. Tom was only trying to help but instead got caught at the wrong place at the wrong time. This leads him to being convicted and eventually dying.

Another reason this novel is amazing is because of the real life moral values it has. The book tackles the perspectives of racism with Tom Robinson and Bob Ewell. Bob Ewell accuses Tom of the crime because he can. At that time period many white people were allowed to do whatever they felt like because they were the upper class. Tom could not do anything but accept the false accusations. This is when Atticus comes in and helps Tom who can’t help himself. Atticus who is white, defending a black man. To most of the county that is something they were unfamiliar with. This is what makes Atticus a respected man by a part of the county and by all of the black community.

The maturity of Jem and Scout is a theme that is very evident by the end of the book. In the beginning Jem and Scout are blinded by a world where everyone is nice to each other. They don’t know about the racism and the nasty side of there county. To them the worst thing they encounter is Boo Radley. The first time they face reality is when they enter the court trial of Tom Robinson. They see all the black people segregated on the top of the court house. All the white men are curing out Tom in the front. Then they say their father who was also taking insults for his choice to do what’s right. In the court house they see and hear all the evidence of the crime. They realize that is wasn’t Tom who did it. As they watch the final verdict come out they hear that he is guilty. This heart break solidifies all the evil in the county. Jem and Scout witness it first hand. There is nothing they can do about it but think about why it is like this. 

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