Essay, Research Paper
Throughout our lives we’re influenced and taught by many. It can have an effect on the way we view problems and events within public boundaries. One of the most important and most effective influences children have in their lives occurs from their parents. The parents of a child can have both a positive and a negative influence on their lives. In this novel there are two very good examples of how parents can be an important influence on their children. Father of Jem and Scout Finch, Atticus Finch, plays the loving, caring and intelligent single parent, he is struggling to keep his family together. He is an example of how parents can have a positive influence on their children. Bob Ewell, father of Mayella Ewell, is the drunken, abusive, and careless father, Bob is also a single parent. He is an example of how a parent can be a negative influence on their children’s lives. Both fathers are very influential on the mental growth of their children.
Parents can influence how their children behave, feel, and act towards the outside world. If a child is brought up with hatred, anger and even violence, they can learn to view the world in a highly negative way, by being dangerous and prejudice towards others. However if a child is brought up with caring and nourishment, they can learn to see the world from all different points of views and angles. Atticus raises his children with love and care, and teaches them to consider all angles of a situation before they judge someone; “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view”… “Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (Lee, pg. 30). Using this belief Atticus tries to teach Jem and Scout on moral values. Bob Ewell however, neglects his children and turns his back on them leaving out love and care from their lives.. He basically teaches his children to hate and be picky towards people of colour. Bob Ewell is cross-examined in the courtroom, and is asked several questions. When he is asked if he is the father of Mayella Ewell, he replies, “Well, if I ain’t I can’t do nothing about it now, her ma’s dead” (Lee, pg.172). This is one example of how Bob Ewell does not display emotion towards his children and their well-being.
Many important characteristics of one’s personality can be passed down to their children. A child can learn to be courageous from examples that are set by the people that surround them. True courage is taught to Jem after Mrs. Dubose dies. Atticus reveals to Jem that he was using her as an example to teach him about true courage; “Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety five pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody”… “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know that you’re licked before you begin, and you begin anyway” (Lee, pg.112). Atticus teaches Jem that true courage is when you know that your chances of accomplishing somthing are very slim, but you go for it anyway. Atticus sets examples himself when he knows he will not win, but he still defends and represents Tom Robinson. However Bob Ewell?s children are afraid of him, and have no idea of what true courage is. Later on Mayella is called to the stand to testify. She is asked a series of questions, but fails to be courageous enough to tell the truth and stand up to her controlling father; “My paw’s never touched a hair o’ my head in my life”… “He never touched me” (Lee, pg. 184). This statement is obviously not true, but she feel’s somehow forced to lie because she is frightened of her father. Bob Ewell has a hold on them and is able to control their minds because abuses his children. However today parents must respect and encourage their children more than before, the life of today is more precarious. Parents today need to be more responsible and look after their kids more closely, for example, that new law that has passed that states that parents will be held responsible for any acts of crime or vandalism committed by their children. The parent will have to pay the fees of the damage done by their child.
Parents should provide for their children by giving them a sense of stability. Not only should they provide them with love, and care, but they should also provide them with the bare essentials in life. Atticus succeeds in doing this by providing his family with food, clothing, and shelter. Their household is an example of the security children need in thier up bringing. Bob Ewell however does not provide his children with any kind of stability, but rather provides only for himself and his drinking habits. Their household is described as being a dump. Nobody really knew how many Ewell children there were, “Some people said six, others said nine; there were always several dirty-faced ones at the windows when anyone passed by” (Lee, pg.171). The Ewell family is described to be the poorest family in Maycomb.
Parents have the most important task in a child?s life by helping them correctly develop their physical and mental lives. Not only should they teach them good moral values, but they should also provide them with examples of good behavior, and how to support a family. Every one who contains these features of parenthood is extremely important and can reflect an entire life of a person. They will most importantly determine the examples and influences that will be passed down from generation to generation.
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