Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird have deep fears in early
childhood. How do the authors create these fears and vulnerabilities?
Charles Dickens' 'Great Expectations' and Harper Lee's 'To Kill a
Mockingbird' are two very different books. 'Great Expectations' tells
the story of a young boy growing up in Kent at the beginning of the
19th century, and 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' centres around two children
growing up in America in the 1930s. However, despite the obvious
differences in the infant characters and the cultures in which they
live, all of the children have deep fears, and both authors use
devices to give the reader an insight into what the child experiences.
The children are also presented as vulnerable needing advice and
reassurance when faced with problems, and trying to find adults that
they can trust and confide in.
There are many ways in which Dickens attempts to display Pip's
vulnerability in 'Great Expectations', and one of the most obvious is
the pathos in the initial chapter. Pip begins by standing in a
deserted graveyard, looking at his parent's grave. The reader
immediately knows that Pip loves his parents, even though he did not
know them, and the reader assumes that Pip spends a lot of time in the
churchyard looking at his family's graves, as if he is spending time
with his family. The initial scene also introduces some aspects of
Pip's innocence and childishness. Pip's impressions of his family are
'unreasonable derived from their tombstones.' The reader later
discovers that Pip cannot read, and is looking only at the shapes of
Jem and Scout's innocence is a device that Harper Lee uses in 'To Kill
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like a star.'
Pumblechook is a name which, it itself suggests a large, rotund
character and Uncle Pumblechook reflects this name. Pip feels
intimidated by his size. Dickens use characternyms to show the reader
Pip's view of the characters.
Pip, Jem and Scout all have fears in their childhood, but they react
to them differently. Pip stoically accepts his situation, and
continues to endure the oppression inflicted upon him. Pip confides in
Joe, but Joe is unable to take any action. Jem and Scout also feel
threatened, but they can tell Atticus, who is always willing to
mediate between them and other people, and do all that he can to solve
To conclude, Dickens and Lee both use devices in their writing to
present a child's view of the world, and both successfully convey the
fears and vulnerabilities of their infant characters.
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