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Loss of Innocence in To Kill a Mockingbird

analytical Essay
2420 words
2420 words
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Loss of Innocence in To Kill a Mockingbird "Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square."(Lee 9). This environment, as Scout Finch accurately describes, is not conducive to young children, loud noises, and games. But, the Finch children and Dill must occupy themselves in order to avoid boredom. Their surroundings are their boundaries, but in their minds, they have no physical confines. Although the physical "boundaries were Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose's house two doors to the north..., and the Radley Place three doors to the south,"(Lee 11) Jem, Scout, and Dill find ways to use the limits, in conjunction with their imaginations, to amuse themselves. The children are the ones who change the old town and make it full of unexpected events. In the same way as the children, the adults of the novel play games that come from their imaginations and, they themselves are the ones who provide the fear for everyone in the county to fear. "Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself"(10). The adults and the children share the fact that they both play games, but a difference also exists between them. The children enact their entertainment, knowing that the games could get violent, but in the end, when the games are over, all the players are able to return home. On the other hand, the adults play their adult games, hurting anyone who does not play by the given rules, and not everyone is fortunate enough to return home. The children pretend to be violent at times but the adults actually are violent. As the children move through the novel, they use these games to develop from their innocence to a level of experience by actualizing the realities of their games through the lives of the adults. Through their own games and through the games of the adults, the children learn values of respect, courage, and understanding. As most children naturally do, Jem, Scout, and their newly-found friend Dill find amusements to make the days pass with excitement. When they first meet Dill, they are beginning the "day's play in the backyard"(11). The implication is that it becomes routine for them to play and that each day brings on a different experience.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how scout finch's children and dill use their imaginations to amuse themselves. the children are the ones who change the old town and make it full of unexpected events.
  • Analyzes how jem, scout, and their newly-found friend dill find amusements to make the days pass with excitement. the "boo radley" plays are innocent in their motives and since they are not real, the consequences are virtually nonexistent
  • Analyzes how the children's thirst for knowledge of boo drives them to their most dangerous adventure thus far.
  • Analyzes how the scary night is an obstacle in their boo pursuits until miss maudie's house goes up in flames. the white-covered, black snowman they build before the fire turns into a messy pile on the ground.
  • Analyzes how jem and scout learn about respect and understanding through relatives, atticus, and mrs. dubose.
  • Analyzes how scout and jem are just beginning to see the adult games evolve. they are faced with ignorant people calling them "nigger-lovers" but don't get a full understanding of the slang term until the trial.
  • Analyzes how the entire trial is an adult game in itself. the players play the game to the advantage of mayella and bob ewell and the disadvantage of tom robinson.
  • Analyzes how boo radley comes back into jem and scout's lives after atticus tries to leave the trial out of his personal life.
  • Analyzes how bob ewell invades the finches' private lives and initiates them into the adult world. the "boo" games begin jem and scout's journey to gain respect, courage, and understanding.
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