, Research Paper
The novel To Kill A Mockingbird can be more easily appreciated and understood by closely analyzing the characters, setting, double plots, and theme. To Kill A Mockingbird teaches multiple moral lessons, and presents an overall picture of the prejudice, lifestyle, and attitude of an average southern town.
There are several crucial carachters in To Kill A Mockingbird and it would take forever and a day to do each one justice. However the most (not only) important carachters are Atticus Finch, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, Jeremy “Jem” Finch, Arthur “Boo” Radley, Tom Robinson, Bob Ewell, and some other less important carachters.
Atticus Finch is the head of the Finch household. He is an aging man who isn’t very dominating in size. According to Atticus’ sister Alexandria, “Atticus is the most pure and good-hearted person one may ever see.” Atticus is totally against prejudice towards anybody. Throughout the story he stresses to his children the importance of tolerance. For example, when the kids learn of Atticus’ choosing to defend a Negro in court, he explains to them that all people are equal and nobody should be treated unfairly because of color. Atticus is the most important protagonist(and carachter). In the beginning of the story the children think of Atticus as a somewhat weak old man and are embarrassed of him during the times such as the softball game that Atticus does not participate in. However, as the story progresses the kids learn that Atticus is a great man who deserves respect. Some cases of this are when Atticus reveals his marksmanship skills, and the incredible show of pride with the whole Tom Robinson ordeal.
Jean Louise “Scout” Finch is the narrator and another major carachter in To Kill A Mockingbird. She ranges in age from six to eight from beginning to end. Though she is only a little girl she is fairly big and strong for her age and is basically a tomboy. Mentally, Scout is an extremely bright girl. She understands things that even some adults cannot comprehend. Scout understands the need to keep Boo Radley’s heroics a secret, as well as many similar things. Scout and the other children all recognize the horrible prejudice and hatred that most of the adults are either a big part of or oblivious to. Scout is a protaganist because she is one of the small amount of people who show genuine concern for the persecuted. Scout was chosen to be the narrator to show the innocence still in society that every child possesses.
Arthur “Boo” Radley is an extremely important protagonist although it is not disclosed until the end of the story. Boo is a mentally ill man with a history of psychological problems. Boo is tall, extremely pale due to being inside a house for over thirty years, with gray, gloomy eyes. Boo seems to like the Finch children, and tries to communicate with them. Boo Radley was chosen to be the representative of the result of prejudice against the mentally ill.
Tom Robinson is an accused rapist though he is a straight-path person. Tom would not have many problems with the allegations had he not been black. Tom is a person of average size, with a useless left arm. Tom is a very nice man who would obviously never rape someone. Through the opinions of Tom’s wife, neighbors, and others we learn that Tom is a man of good morals and is most likely innocent. Harper Lee chose this carachter to represent the product of racism against blacks in the South.
Bob Ewell is the most important antagonist in To Kill A Mockingbird. He is an old white man. Ewell and his family live on a dump and are pretty dirty people. Bob Ewell is an obvious liar whose prejudice is so strong that it blinds him. In the Tom Robinson plot we learn that Bob Ewell is a drunk who should not be well liked. Bob Ewell was chosen in To Kill A Mockingbird to represent the people that ruin life for southern blacks and give the South a bad name.
Many important “minor” carachters play a not-so-minor role in To Kill A Mockingbird. Some of these include the other half of the Finch household (Jeremy “Jem” Finch,Calpurnia)
Calpurnia is the black maid of the Finches who ends up teaching the children morals and values such as the mockingbird story. Jem Finch is Scout’s brother and many times a partner in crime.
Jem is a few years older than Scout and many times has to explain things to Scout. Jem, like Scout, begins embarrassed of his father but realizes how wonderful he is.
Along with the carachters, the setting contributed tremendously to the theme of To Kill A Mockingbird. The story takes place in Maycomb County, Alabama. Maycomb is a fictional
small town that is very realistic compared with the average southern town in the thirties. The town has a very strong prejudice against blacks for no apparent reason reason other than color. Maycomb is not a very good place for a black to live because of the danger of upsetting a white man which would lead to an impossible battle. Maycomb is a classic southern town complete with judge, sheriff, gossipers, merchants, and the like. To Kill A Mockingbird could not have taken place any other place besides the South.
The double plots in To Kill A Mockingbird are obvious and don’t require much explanation. The first plot is the Boo Radley plot of prejudice against the mentally ill. The beginning of the plot or inciting incident is the children, Scout, Jem, and Dill making up horror stories about Boo. They see Boo as a carachter of amusement and who has no feelings at all. The kids try many times unsuccessfully to peeop at him just once. Boo shows desire to communicate with people by leaving gifts in a tree for the rising action. Boo leaves random gifts such as a broken stopwatch,chewing gum, and carved soap for Jem and Scout though it takes them a while to figure out what is going on.
Boo is the person who put a warm blanket around the children the night of the fire, and he sewed Jem’s ripped pants. These things all go to show Boo’s concern for the Finch kids, but nothing compares to what Boo does in the climax. As the children are walking home alone from a pageant in pitch dark, they are attacked by Bob Ewell seeking revenge for Atticus’ defending Tom Robinson. Boo sees from his window and comes down to rescue Scout and Jem and kill Bob Ewell. That night in the Finch house, Scout realizes that it is the first time she has actually seen Boo, and that she loves him for what he has done. In the resolution of the Boo plot, Scout and the others realize that to publicize Boo’s heroics would be traumatizing to the shy man, and decide to lie and say Bob Ewell fell on his knife. Scout then walks Boo home, and learns something very important about life.
The Tom Robinson or prejudice against blacks plot is another mockingbird example. It is a classic example of prejudice that says your wrong because your black and I’m right because I’m white. The inciting incident is Bob and Mayella(Bob’s Daughter) accuse Tom Robinson of raping Mayella. Maycomb is immediately torn into blacks supporting Tom Robinson and whites supporting the Ewells, only the whites have much more power. The rising actipn is when Atticus Finch decides to represent Tom Robinson in court, a case everybody knows he cannot win. The Finches receive alot of ridicule but stick to their beliefs that no man should be persecuted for being black. Atticus earns the respect of every black person by making this move. The conflict is the extremely intense trial. The Ewells are very over-emotional and Attocis asks them questions that prove they are lying. Atticus proves that Mayella was beaten with a left hand, and Tom has no use of his left arm. Atticus also asks a series of questions that make it obvious that Bob Ewell beat Mayella. Despite all of this, the jury finds Tom guilty and it is simply a matter of white over black. The climax sadly comes when Tom loses all faith that he would receive any justice, tries to escape from jail, and is shot. The Tom Robinson plot ends in a tear-jerking way. Maycomb basically stays the same, except for some inspired by Atticus.
The theme of To Kill A Mockingbird is also a very important aspect of the story, as well as the easiest to understand. We first learn about mockingbird when the kids get their air rifles and Atticus warns “…remember it’s a sin to kill a mocking bird.” This means a mockingbird is an innocent person who does not deserve to be persecuted. Boo and Tom are exactly that. The white people killed a mockingbird when they all went against Tom Robinson, and the townspeople killed a mockingbird when they said bad things about Boo Radley.
The title of the book means nothing before reading. The title is just an ordinary thing that cannot be understood. During reading, pieces fall together and form a clearer picture, and after reading it’s a beautiful picture. The mockingbird was seen in three steps. First in Chapter ten when Atticus says never to shoot a mockingbird because it causes no harm. At that point neither Jem or Scout unuderstand what Atticus means. In Chap 25 Scout finds a roly-poly and wants to kill it. Jem says she can’t “..because they don’t bother you.” At this point, Jem understands the mockingbird. At the third stage, Scout learns as well what Atticus had been saying all along. Scout walks Boo Radley home and stops to look at the street from his doorstep. It was there on his steps where Scout saw the years through Boo’s eyes and learned to “…climb into another person’s skin and walk around in it.”
To Kill A Mockingbird is more easily appreciated by closely analyzing the carachters, setting, plots, and theme. It was at the very end that Scout understood life. To Kill A Mockingbird is a very inspirational book. Not only is it a book for pleasure, it shows us how far we have come and how far we still have to go. Thetitle can be interpreted in many different ways. Each will be different based on the readers beliefs.