Harper Lee's To Kill Mocking Bird

672 Words3 Pages
No matter race, background or time period, every child goes through the drastic change from childhood to adulthood that we know of as “coming of age.” Since the topic of coming of age is so widespread and relatable, it is a very common theme in novels. In fact, many American classics follow the archetype known as loss of innocence, which displays the change in views and values of a child during this time period. Childhood is hard enough how it is, but during certain time periods and in certain locations, it can be exceptionally difficult; an example of this stressed hardship is the Deep South during the times of segregation and The Great Depression. One American classic that follows this archetype is To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; in this narrative, she shows a dramatic change in Scout and Jem’s understanding of courage and empathy with the help of their father, Atticus, as they mature in the Deep South. At the beginning of the novel, Jem believes that courage must be an elaborate act of bravery, but as the story progresses, he realizes that he was wrong. In the middle of the novel, Jem asks Atticus why Mrs. Dubose would want fight a battle that wasn’t necessary and was known to be hard and painful. Atticus responds by saying, “(courage is) when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what” (112). When he tells this to Jem, he’s telling him that courage isn’t an extravagant act, but the act of fighting even if it’s hard or you already know the outcome. Later on in the story, Jem shows that he took Atticus’s comment seriously when the mob showed up and he stood up for his father, even though he know that the group of men could stop him very easily. Atticus tells him t... ... middle of paper ... ...he reader how important empathy really is when it comes to social interaction. Also, she explains how courage doesn’t have to be a large, elaborate thing; it can simply be a small thing in which you stand up for what you believe in. As Harper Lee writes about these topics, she stresses the importance of understanding them and applying them to your life. She hints at the fact that the world would be a better place if everyone was empathetic and truly courageous. Also, she highlights that if empathy was more present in the south, inequality wouldn’t have been as drastic, and that if people were truly courageous in standing up against inequality, it wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long. If other writers created stories that stressed the qualities of courage and empathy more people would aspire to possess these qualities and therefore, the world would be a better place.
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