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Childhood Presented in To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

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Childhood Presented in To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Childhood should be a time of great learning, curiosity, joy,
playfulness and guiltlessness. The reality is that it can be a time of
extreme vulnerability and dependency. The innocence and fragility of a
child is easily manipulated and abused if not nurtured and developed.
Family relationships are crucial in the flourishing of young minds,
but other childhood associations are important too. These include
school life, friends, play and peer-group. Both novels portray these
factors and their effects on the character formation of their
subjects, to some extent and, show that growing up can be a painful
process greatly accelerated by the events that the children encounter.

Scout and Jem are the daughter and son of Atticus Finch, a widowed
lawyer based in Maycomb, twenty miles from Finch's Landing the family
plot. They are a white, middle class family who have a black
cook/housekeeper. Their story is written in To Kill a Mocking Bird,
which was published in 1960. It's author, Harper Lee, was a white
woman who incorporated many of her own childhood experiences into the
book. She too came from a small, sleepy town in Alabama, her own
father was a lawyer and her childhood friend was Trueman Capote, from
whom she drew inspiration for Scout and Jem's friend Dill. Perhaps the
most influential of the events that occurred during Lee's childhood
was the Scottsboro Trials, where nine innocent young black men were
accused of raping two white women. This was undoubtedly the
inspiration for the climax of the novel, the rape trial of Tom
Robinson. Lee wrote the novel in the late 1950's at the beginning of
the Civil Rights Move...


... middle of paper ...


...nced, and easy to
read way. The character of the narrator Scout is infused with wit and
humour and she paints pictures of lazy summer days at play, while
still managing to deal with the rape trial and its aftermath. Her
characters develop throughout the novel by a series of moralistic
encounters with neighbours and family, until by the end of the novel
Scout realises that they have learnt so much and remarks:

"As I made my way home, I though Jem and I would get grown but there
wasn't much else left for us to learn, except possibly algebra." (To
Kill a Mocking Bird, P308)

Lee certainly gets her point across but does so in a gentler, less
harrowing way.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

To Kill a Mocking Bird, Harper Lee, William Heinemann Ltd, 1960.

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison, Picador, 1990.

- OTHER RESOURCES USED

www.sparknotes.com

www.pinkmonkey.com


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