To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee Essay

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee Essay

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As children grow up, they open their eyes to the harsh truths in the world around them that they once did not understand or question. This is experienced by the main characters of Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The story is of a girl called Scout and her older brother, Jem, who go through the trials of growing up in the fictional small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930s. Racism is rampant in the mindset of the townspeople, shown when the children’s lawyer father, Atticus, takes the case of an obviously innocent African-American man and they convict him in their hearts before the trial even starts. Through this all, we can see the theme of loss of innocence in the children. Lee uses characterization to portray Scout as the embodiment of innocence, and then shows the readers her struggle to identify with her own moral code. Likewise, Lee uses the characterization of Jem to depict his understanding of the injustice and prejudice that occurs in his town. Lee also utilizes the relationship between Scout and Jem to show the contrast between their different points of loss of innocence. Lee portrays the theme of loss of innocence through the characterization of Scout and Jem, as well as the relationship between them.

Lee uses the characterization of Scout to reveal the theme of loss of innocence. In the beginning of the novel, one can see that Scout is a wise, yet naïve, girl who speaks and thinks in a manner beyond her years, but still acts like a child. She deals with her problems immaturely by getting into fights. When upset with her friend for ignoring her, she “…beat him up twice, but it did no good.” (41) Additionally, Scout accepts the town rumors of a neighbor named Arthur “Boo” Radley without ques...


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...t and Jem, as well as the relationship between them to establish the theme of loss of innocence in her novel. Lee’s use of characterization of Scout shows us her loss of innocence as she goes through the ordeals of her childhood. Lee’s use of characterization of Jem shows us his loss of innocence as he empathizes with the victims Arthur Radley and Tom Robinson. Lee’s depiction of the relationship between Scout and Jem shows us how same events are interpreted differently by children at distinct points of loss of innocence. All children have to go through a loss of innocence. In the beginning, they see the world as a benevolent and wondrous place, then slowly start to see the cracks of the malevolent and immoral through the façade they had once thought was real; they can either ignore the cracks and believe in something false, or accept it as the flawed world it is.

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