Literal Evaluation of To Kill a Mockingbird

Essay by weeronniesun December 2004

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To Kill a Mockingbird

Choose a novel in which a central character experiences lead to a clear and deeper understanding not only of others but of her/himself. Discuss the ways in which the character attains this knowledge and a better understanding

I have recently read the novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee. The main character of the book is a young girl called Jean Louise (Scout) Finch. The novel is narrated by an adult Scout looking back at her life as a child in a small town called Maycomb. The child Scout has many experiences during the novel, which give her a fuller and better understanding of herself and the others near her. Scout acquires the bulk of her knowledge from her father and teacher Atticus. Atticus is a good teacher because his morals are good and he does not judge on appearance or social status. Scout starts to realise this about Atticus and bases her own morals on the actions of Atticus.

Atticus and Scout have a very strong relationship. Scout's mother died when she was two and Atticus has had to bring her up by himself and the help of Calpurnia the maid. Atticus and Scout don't act as father and daughter, they act more like friends with Scout calling him by his first name rather than with the more common 'Dad'. At the start of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Scout looks up to Atticus and she sees him as a hero who can do no wrong. They have a nightly ritual of sitting in Atticus' chair and reading the newspaper. Although Scout doesn't always understand the articles in the newspaper she always tries to put her point in when they discuss it afterwards. As Scout begins school the image of Atticus as a hero...