To Kill a Mockingbird: How do illusion and reality affect our perception of ourselves and others?

Essay by hooctawnfonixHigh School, 10th gradeA, April 2004

download word file, 4 pages 4.6

One may ask the question "What roles do illusion and reality play in the perception of ourselves and others?". Illusion and reality both play a role in the definition of our perception. Illusion is the stereotype, the racist idea, while reality is the truth that one sees when he/she looks closely and tries to understand. This may be seen in To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. Once, during Jem, Dill, and Scout's investigation of Boo Radley, or Mr. Arthur Radley, another time, during the whole jury's verdict against clearly innocent Tom Robinson, and yet again, in the illusion that Dolphus Raymond is always drunk and that is why he is in the situation that he is in.

An example of when one looks closely, and goes past the shell of illusion and sees reality is in Boo Radley's case. Jem and Scout think that he is crazy or extremely evil, because of the stories they hear about him.

One can see in the following quote the story of Boo Radley when he was a juvenile : "According to neighbourhood legend, when the younger Radley boy was in his teens he became aquainted with some of the Cunninghams [...] and they formed the nearest thing to a gang ever seen in Maycomb. [...]" (Lee 15-16). This quote is the story of how Arthur was part of an "almost gang". This story is the basis of Jem and Scout's belief that Boo Radley is crazy or evil. They slowly start to see the kindness in him by the presents given to Jem and Scout through the hole in the tree. Then at the end of the book, one can see Arthur Radley saving Jem from Mr. Ewell's attack:

"Suddenly he was jerked backwards and flung to the ground, almost...