Essay about Is Scout a Reliable Narrator in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Essay about Is Scout a Reliable Narrator in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Paul Simon, the musician, once said, “If you can get humor and seriousness at the same time, you've created a special little thing, and that's what I'm looking for, because if you get pompous, you lose everything” (Simon 1). Racism in the 1930s and until the 1960s was a very serious issue. As stated, authors have taken this serious issue and turned it into great pieces of literature. Many of them have truly shown the seriousness of racism in society. Even though, criticism continues. Some critics have argued that Scout, in To Kill A Mockingbird, is an unreliable narrator. This is simply because Scout is a child. They suspect she is too innocent, naïve, and has an unbiased view. However, Scout as the narrator is a reliable choice because she allows the reader to concentrate more on the exterior of situations, she allows the reader to make his/her opinion, and she gives the reader direction of how to cover events and certain actions in the novel. Scout, as a child narrator, helps the reader ‘read between the lines’.
First of all, Scout allows the reader to focus more on the exterior of situations. Children tend to experience things differently from others. Events that take place in society may be of great importance to adults and mean nothing to children. Things of importance differ between children and adults. But sometimes, a child’s perspective may be the best way to look at things. In To Kill A Mockingbird, the whole town was talking about Tom Robinson’s trial, especially since he was African American and Atticus, a white man, was to be his lawyer. According to reviewer Edwin Bruell in Racism in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, “[To Kill A] Mockingbird, he tells us, is about the townspeople, not about Robinson” (Mancini 101)....


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...ated by a child doesn’t make it unreliable. In To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout proves to be a reliable narrator. In fact, a child as the narrator opens up more opportunities for the reader. Certain conflicts aren’t looked at with just one option, a child narrator gives the reader a chance to look at situations from a unique view. The reader’s viewpoint of the novel is changed when met with the Scout’s perspective of issues. Also, even though Scout is a child, she, as narrator, shows that she can be mature in situations and she lets the reader know how to interpret her actions. Therefore, a child narrator in a novel is never a bad decision. When it comes to thinking and doing things, age doesn’t matter. What matters is the person’s wisdom, his/her life experiences, and how he/she apply it to their own selves. That is what truly determines the reliability of a narrator.

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