"To Kill a Mockingbird", by Nelle Harper Lee. Discusses what can be considered the most important influence in the novel

Essay by Lucas ForgetCollege, UndergraduateB+, December 1996

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'Select a novel studied by you where at least one of the principal

characters is a young person. Discuss what you consider to be the most

important influence in the novel in helping that young person to develop.'

Jean-Louise Finch (Scout) is the main character in Harper Lee's 'To

kill a mockingbird'. She is a young girl who matures in the course of

the novel. The most important influence in her development is clearly

her father, Atticus.

Unlike almost all other adults in Scout's environment, he is not in any

way prejudiced against the black population of Maycomb, a small

American town in the 1930's in which all the novel's happenings take

place. He tries to instill his beliefs of the equality of all people in his

daughter and his son, Jem, in many discussions, he for instance states

that whenever a white man cheats a black man, the white man is

'trash'. He is very modest, which is shown in an incident in which he

is asked to shoot a mad dog, which he manages to do with one

precise shot, yet he never told his children of his great talent for

marksmanship, and does not go hunting because he thinks it gives

him an unfair advantage over other living things.

The main event of the novel is a trial, in which Atticus is the

defendant's lawyer, against a black man who has been falsely accused

of raping a white woman. Atticus does his best to prove Tom

Robinson's innocence, to a degree where any objective jury would

surely have found him not guilty, but it sentences him to death, as it

is expected to do by the general populace. Prior to the trial, Scout and

Jem are mocked by other children at school, which have been told...