To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

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Harper Lee grew up in Alabama in a time when racism was rampant and the people were merely sustaining an adequate life due to the Great Depression. The story is set in the rural town of Maycomb, which is a place where, “there was no hurry, for there was no place to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with...” Maycomb is a slow paced, hot, poverty-stricken Alabaman town with outdated infrastructures where people had old-fashioned values and traditional views. These factors then spread an outbreak of fear, which dramatically steers the course of the novel.

People in Maycomb generally stick to their daily routines and stay away from anyone who seems suspicious or out of place. Because of this ideology, Boo Radley a mysterious, seemingly sinister figure that never comes out of hiding becomes the subject of the town’s never-ending streams of gossip, accusations and fallacies. For the children, Boo was a fascinating figure that seems to be the center of all their ghost stories, which they share like ones around a campfire. Boo is said to be a man who, “dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch…” This is a vicious, bloody image that is painted in the reader’s mind. Boo is described so vividly through the eyes of a variety of characters that this portrayal of him almost becomes the reality. For the children, fear is a sign of weakness and Boo is the source of their fear. As the time passes on, the children’s plans to force Boo out of hiding become more and more elaborate. Jem, Scout and Dill decide to role-play what Boo’s might be like. In a way, this helps the children cope with their fear. The more they think they know about Boo, the less fearful they become.

This fear of change has also bought out fear due to prejudi...

... middle of paper ... For Scout, this is merely the end of their presents. On the other hand, Jem ends up in tears, as he understands that Nathan not only has broken up Boo’s connection to the outside world but also ruined what might me Boo’s first real friendship. Boo Radley eventually ends up saving the children’s lives. This is when Scout finally realizes that Boo is the complete opposite of what they thought he was, “…why he hadn’t done any of those things… Atticus, he was real nice...”

Maycomb has been a quiet, unchanging town for years. Fear has caused a series of events that have shaken this small town. Maycomb will never be the same again. As Harper Lee states, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” This famous line suggests that fear leads to idleness when decisive action is clearly necessary. In conclusion, fear brings out the worse in people, even the most innocent.
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