Knowing Oneself: To Kill a Mockingbird Essay example

Knowing Oneself: To Kill a Mockingbird Essay example

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Knowing Oneself
In the award-winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, set in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930's, many characters go through different struggles in their day-to-day lives. These storms teach the reader different things about the characters. Walter Cunningham Sr., a farmer, goes through two very difficult struggles, trying to stay afloat during the economic crisis and trying to decide for himself if the prejudice Maycomb's people have for the African Americans is right.
First off, one of the storms Walter Cunningham Sr. goes through is trying to provide for his family during the Great Depression. In the beginning of the novel, Atticus, the best lawyer in all of Maycomb, is telling his daughter, Scout, and his son, Jem, that "If he held his mouth right, Mr. Cunningham could get a WPA job, but his land would go to ruin if he left it, and he [is] willing to go hungry to keep his land and votes as he pleased"(Lee 12). Clearly, this shows that Walter Cunningham is very passionate about what he does, and could not bear to let his farm go, even if it means that he will struggle to provide for his family and may only be hurting himself. But, Walter, being the strong character he is, continues to fight by putting everything he has into his farm in order to keep his family alive and just barely get by on what he has. A little while later in the novel, Scout explains to the reader how Walter pays them. "One morning Jem and I found a load of stovewood in the back yard. Later, a sack of hickory nuts appeared on the back steps . . . Atticus said Mr. Cunningham had more than paid him" (11). This illustrates the idea that Walter Cunningham is a very responsible individual who is making the best of his situation by paying wi...


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...n. These storms reveal many things about him, such as his passion, sense of responsibility, and his ability to complete an introspective journey, as well as a glimpse inside the mind of Mr. Cunningham. Writers create characters in order to teach the reader something, and Walter Cunningham clearly embodies the idea of knowing yourself and being your own individual, along with the evidence that a warped society can corrupt the minds of its innocent. Walter Cunningham shows the readers that people can be both passionate and responsible, and can decide for themselves what to believe in. Lee invites the reader to take their own introspective journey in order to figure out who they are and what they believe. All in all, Walter Cunningham Sr. shows the arduous journey of sticking to what your love and truly knowing oneself.



Works Cited

Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

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