To Kill A Mockingbird Ignorance Analysis

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Thomas Gray wrote “Ignorance is bliss,” in his poem, “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College”. As children grow up, they learn about many unpleasant things, and Scout is no different. She is introduced to many harsh concepts like prejudice. In her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses deception and racism to show Scout’s coming of age. Boo Radley is a shut-in whose reclusive lifestyle is commented on by the residents of Maycomb. Rumors and gossip about Boo Radley are widespread and vicious. The gossip spurs Scout’s and Jem’s fascination with Boo Radley and drives them to incorporate Boo into their games and daily activities. “It was a melancholy little drama, woven from bits and scraps of gossip and neighborhood legend:…show more content…
Scout is introduced to the racist views of her neighbors multiple times but is too young to fully understand their implications. After she gets into a fight with Cecil Jacobs about Atticus, she asks Atticus “Do all lawyers defend n-Negroes, Atticus?” “Of course they do, Scout.” “Then why did Cecil say you defended niggers? He made it sound like you were runnin‘ a still.” Atticus sighed. “I’m simply defending a Negro—his name’s Tom Robinson….Scout, you aren’t old enough to understand some things yet, but there’s been some high talk around town to the effect that I shouldn’t do much about defending this man. “(Lee 77). She doesn’t understand why people are so biased against African Americans or why defending one is different from defending a white man. Atticus himself states that she is too young to understand how unconventional his actions are. Scout’s innocence appears again at the trial of Tom Robinson. “Until my father explained it to me later, I did not understand the subtlety of Tom’s predicament: he would not have dared strike a white woman under any circumstances and expect to live long, so he took the first opportunity to run—a sure sign of guilt.” (Lee 198). She does not understand why Tom runs instead of fighting because she is too innocent to know that a black man fighting a white person is taboo in Maycomb. She feels that Tom ran because he was guilty not because he was trying to be nice and abide by the unwritten rules placed by society. Atticus’ explanations finally clear the doubt up and help Scout mature ethically. Her ethical growth is evident when she notices she starts to notice other people 's prejudices. After Miss Gates gives a vilifying speech about Hitler’s prejudice toward the Jews, Scout questions her hypocritical views. Scout tells Jem,”Well, she went on today about how bad it was him treatin‘ the Jews like that. Jem, it’s not right to persecute
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