"To Kill A Mockingbird": Appearance versus Reality

Essay by lil_footy_g August 2006

download word file, 3 pages 2.3

Appearance versus reality is a major theme in the novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. There are many incorrect perceptions in the town of Maycomb county which include Jem and Scout's opinion of their father, Jem's judgement of Mrs. Dubose, the town's delusion of Boo Radley and the town's outlook of the black community.

In the introductory segment of the novel, Jem and Scout look at their father as an embarrassment and they think his age inhibits the development of their relationships. When Miss Caroline asks Scout to tell her father to stop teaching her to read, Scout replies,

This signifies the children's misconception of their father. They think he is a tired, old man with no time for them, but in reality he is a better father than most others, teaching them all the right things they need to know to get on well in life.

Jem's judgement of Mrs Dubose plays a very significant role in making the reader apprehend her character properly.

Mrs. Dubose treats Jem and Scout with a great deal of disrespect. Every time they pass her house while she is sitting on her verandah, she hurls criticisms and insults at them. She pushes Jem to his limits and causes him to destroy her most treasured possessions, her camellias. Atticus punishes Jem by making him read to Mrs Dubose every day for one month and Scout joins him. After Mrs. Dubose passed away, Atticus explains to his children that she was a morphine addict, and her goal was to stop taking it before she died. He made his children understand what the meaning of courage is.

Mrs. Dubose is seen by Jem and Scout as an old and mean woman, but in reality, she is extremely brave and courageous.

Another example that applies to the appearance...