I've never been to Alabama, but novelist Harper Lee made me feel as if I had been there in the long, hot summer of 1935, when a lawyer named Atticus Finch decided to defend an innocent black man accused of a horrible crime. The story of how the whole town reacted to the trial is told by the lawyer's daughter, Scout, who remembers exactly what it was like to be eight years old in 1935, in Macomb, Alabama. Scout is the reason I loved this book, because her voice rings so clear and true. Not only does she make me see the things she sees, she makes me feel the things she feels. There's a lot more going on than just the trial, and Scout tells you all about it. A man called Boo Radley lives next door. Very few people have ever seen Boo, but Scout and her friends have a lot of fun telling scary stories about him. The mystery about Boo Radley is just one of the reasons you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens in To Kill a Mockingbird. Scout and her big brother, Jem, run wild and play games and have a great time while their father is busy with the trial. One of their friends is a strange boy called Dill. Actually Dill isn't really so strange once you get to know him. He says things like I'm little but I'm old, which is funny but also pretty sad, because some of the time Dill acts more like a little old man than a seven-year-old boy. To Kill a Mockingbird is filled with interesting characters like Dill, and Scout makes them all seem just as real as the people in your own hometown. Here's how Scout describes Miss Caroline, who wore a red-striped dress: She looked and smelled like a peppermint drop. Dill, Boo, and Jem are all fascinating, but the most important character in the book is Scout's father, Atticus Finch. You get the idea that Scout is writing the story down because she wants the world to know what a good man her dad was, and how hard he tried to do the right thing, even though the deck was stacked against him. The larger theme of the story is about racial intolerance, but Scout never tries to make it a lesson, it's simply part of the world she describes. That's why To Kill a Mockingbird rings true, and why it all seems so real. The trial of the wrongly accused Tom Robinson takes place during the time of segregation, when black people were not allowed to socialize with white people. In that era, when a white man said a
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To Kill a Mocking Bird is based in about 1935, right in the middle of the depression. It is set in a small town in Alabama called Maycomb. Maycomb, like most small southern towns, has a problem with widespread racism toward Negroes. The novel focuses on one family, the Finches. In the family there are three people, Scout, Jem and Atticus. Atticus is a lawyer and is defending a Negro man in court (Tom Robinson), something that was not often done in the south due to racism. Many people feel threatened by this and feel very resentful toward Atticus. Throughout the novel all the members of the Finches and many others display courage in their attempts to stand up for what they believe in. In the beginning of the novel we meet Jean Louise Finch, or Scout for short. Scout is an energetic little six year old. She still has her innocence and has not yet been able to understand the concepts of racial discrimination or hate. Scout is confused by what some of her classmates have been saying about her father, Atticus Finch. Many of her classmates call Atticus a nigger lover. Being only six Scout does not know how to handle such situations so she solves her problems by fighting. On the day that Tom Robinson was moved to the Maycomb jail to await his trial, Atticus left the house to go and sit outside of the jail to watch over Tom to make sure that nothing happens to him. Scout, Jem and Dill followed him there to make sure that nothing happened to him. Suddenly several cars pulled up at the jail. A mob got out of the vehicles and demanded that Atticus step aside so that they could get at Tom. Frightened the children came running to Atticus' side and asked him if everything was okay. Atticus told them to go home, but they refused. Suddenly, Scout saw a man that she knew, Mr. Cunningham. She said hi to him, twice before he acknowledged her. She began asking him questions about his entailments and talking about Walter, his son. At first he said nothing, Scout was afraid that she had done something wrong. Then finally he said something, he said that he would tell Walter that she said hey. After that, they all left. By singling out Mr. Cunningham she turned to mob into individuals and thus making them more aware as to what they were doing. She made Mr. Cunningham realize that Atticus is a man, not a roadblock. Scout showed that even a small girl was able to stop a mob of grown men from doing something that they might regret. Even though Scout was unaware of what she had done she was still the hero of the day and displayed lots of courage by standing up for her father. Scout's brother Jem also shows courage in the novel. Jem is nine years old and is just beginning to show signs of maturing. Jem shows most of his courage by just believing that what his father was doing was the right thing to do. Jem continues to believe throughout the novel that Atticus will win because there was very little evidence to go against Tom, only the words of Mayella and Bob Ewell. This trust and somewhat naive belief that even a Negro can get released from jail is shattered when Tom is sentenced. Jem does not understand how he could be guilty even when all the evidence was pointing towards Bob Ewell. The courage showed by Jem concerning this matter is very strong, partially due to his slight naivetÐ¹ towards the racism that is going on around him. This courage is based on what he has been told by Atticus. Atticus displays the most courage by defending Tom Robinson in court. He knew that having a white man defend a black man in court was unacceptable. He knew that people would resent him for it and he also knew that he would most likely lose the case because a black man has never won a court battle against a white. Atticus never lost hope though, he continued to work and protect Tom no matter what.
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To Kill a Mockingbird essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
To Kill a Mockingbird (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)