At the end of the novel, Scout says He was really nice. Atticus replies

At the end of the novel, Scout says He was really nice. Atticus replies

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At the end of the novel, Scout says He was really nice. Atticus replies
Most people are Scout, when you finally see them. Discuss the importance
of this as indicating a major theme in the novel.

GCSE English Coursework: To Kill A Mockingbird:

At the end of the novel, Scout says “He was really nice.” Atticus
replies “Most people are Scout, when you finally see them”. Discuss
the importance of this as indicating a major theme in the novel.

To Kill a Mockingbird was written in 1962 by Harper Lee, but set in
the 1930s just after the Wall Street crash, which consequently led to
the great depression. It is a novel, read by a lot of people as a
moral parable. The novel deals with such things as prejudice, poverty
and parental education. This novel is set in a small quiet town called
Maycomb County, in Alabama, a Southern State of America. The people in
the town are represented in a pyramid of hierarchy, with middle class,
white professionals, at the summit of this hierarchical structure.

The quote in the title of this essay title shows how Atticus educated
his children on how bad prejudice was and he tries to repel them from
the majority of racist thoughts of Maycomb. When he replies to Scout
in the novel, “Most people are Scout when you finally see them”, he is
trying to put across the fact that all people have their faults and
their good attributes, but many people are clouded with other people’s
gossip and follow the crowd. I think he is trying to say that if
people think about someone deep down who they hate, they realise they
don’t have much of a reason to. He is teaching the children to get to
know people before they place a judgement on them, not to judge a book
by its cover. Atticus’ reply to Scout was said in a moral sense. To
see the real decency of a person you need to be able to analyse
everything about them, not their skin colour but their true
personalities as a person. "You never really understand a person
until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." Once you
discover who they really are you can then place your own justified
judgement. This quote relates closely to the quote in the title as you
need to consider people from their point of view, then you can
“Finally see them”. This separated Atticus apart from the rest of the
characters in the novel as he surpasses face value and sees people for
who they really are.

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This conveys courage in Atticus’ personality as
gossip can spread in such a small town such as Maycomb, and
perceptions of people can easily be altered by what the majority of
people think. The racism and prejudice in this era of America was very
open, but people were not aware of it being racism, but a way of life.
Bob Ewell named Atticus a “nigger lover” in the novel, and people
didn’t treat black people in a humane way. Atticus realised this and
spend his life trying to introduce equality into his town, something
that didn’t exist at all. “There’s something in this world that makes
men loose their heads – they couldn’t be fair if they tried. In our
courts, when it’s a white mans world against a black man’s, the white
man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.”

Atticus, a respected lawyer in the town is at the central core of
this novel. He has a lot of moral authority in the small town and is a
prime example of someone who is at the top of the hierarchy. Jem and
Scout, also knows as Jean Louise, are his young children, with Scout
being the narrator of this novel. She describes the events of her
childhood in a retrospective style and it shows how she begins to
understand, but not accept the society in which she lived over the
duration of the story. Atticus is a caring and loving father and the
only citizen of Maycomb who will defend a black person and view them
as equal. He also pays respect to other members of the community and
considers everyone as equal, which is why he is so respected himself.
“They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to
full respect for their opinions”. He is also shown to teach respect to
people. He tells his children: "You never really understand a person
until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” He is educating
Jem and Scout that they should respect everyone, as nobody understands
reasons for a persons actions or words except themselves. If they
respect people, people will respect them.

The narrative structure in this novel provides a good support for the
plot as it conveys the general parallels and contrasts of the
characters, as well as presenting the novel in a particular point of
view of a child. The themes in the novel - prejudice and growing-up
are developed by the narrative structure, given in the innocent view
of a child. The book concentrates on everyday situations in its time
where racism and prejudice was the norm. This subsequently gives an
insight of how bad racism actually was back in the 1930’s. Now it is
being read in the present day, where most people take an entirely
different view to racism and prejudice and it enforces how bad racism
was even more so.

Atticus not only teaches his children that racism is wrong, but alters
their view on a person called Boo Radley, also known as Arthur, who
was an out-of-control young man who had been ostracised by the
community by gossip and word of mouth. They considered him dangerous
and crazy as he was arrested for assault. He was detained for a while
and then released. “They wanted to send him to an asylum, but his
daddy said no Radley was going to any asylum. So they locked him up in
the basement of the courthouse till he nearly died of the damp, and
his daddy brought him back home.” Boo then became a recluse in his
house and nobody came near him as he was subjected to gossip. Jem says
to Dill in the novel, “Boo only comes out at night when you're asleep
and it's pitch-dark. When you wake up at night, you can hear him. Once
I heard him scratchin' on our screen door, but he was gone by the time
Atticus got there.” Scout then realises he is good-hearted deep down
when he places a blanket around her when she was cold. He also risked
himself to saved her and Jem from Bob Ewell.

Scout displays the education he is taught by Atticus when Aunt
Alexandra forbids Scout to play with her friend Walter Cunningham, a
poor boy who goes to school with Scout. Aunt Alexandra sees Walter and
his family inferior to the Finch family due to their lack of money and
says, " they're good folks. But they're not our kind of folks." Scout
on the other hand doesn't care about how much money Walter and his
family have but about his good friendship qualities. Scout learns to
not let irrelevant things such as money affect her judgment of people.

Atticus also managed to change the racist society of Maycomb by
defending Tom Robinson in his trial, a black man who is accused of
raping a white woman. By defending Tom in a hopeless trial, Atticus,
is standing up for an ethnic group in the society he lived in and this
would hopefully have an impact on the rest of the town as he was a
very influential member of it. Atticus says to Scout " If I didn't
take this case then I wouldn't be able to hold my head up, I wouldn't
be about to tell anyone what to do, not even you and Jem." the reader
can understand that Tom's case is very important to Atticus and he
knows that it will be a very important factor in shaping the community
in which he lives and that there will be a change for the better from
the result of the trial. If he did not accept the defence of Tom in
the trial then no one else in Maycomb would be the first to stand up
and help Tom and the rest of the black community. Atticus’ good-will
is enhanced by him being a white upper-class man himself. He fights
for what is right, even though he wouldn’t benefit from black people
being equal, and if anything he would benefit from the black community
being inferior as he is white. This is not important to Atticus as the
good, moral thing to do is far more rewarding for him. When he says, "
Link, that boy might go to the chair, but he's not going till the
truth's told . . . and you know what the truth is”, Atticus must face
a group of the townspeople and it is clear that Atticus is willing to
risk his own safety and reputation to bring justice to the trial and
justice to the black people, no matter who stands in the way. Atticus
shows great compassion towards black people and makes sacrifices by
defending Tom. He says in chapter 23, “The one place where a man ought
to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any colour of the
rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right
into a jury box. As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black
men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't
you forget it - whenever a white man does that to a black man, no
matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from,
that white man is trash”. Atticus was going to see his case through to
the end, even if the result was positive or negative. Atticus’ closing
statement in the trial is very powerful, he says: " You know the
truth, and the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are
immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women- black or
white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no
particular race of men. There is not a person in this courtroom who
has never told a lie, who has never done an immoral thing, and there
is no man living who has never looked upon a woman without desire. He
fights against the majority for justice and equality.

Atticus also treats Mrs. Dubose, Scouts teacher, in a complimentary
and kind way, which also forms his “saintly” characteristic. Even
though Mrs. Dubose makes malicious comments and criticisms of Atticus
and his children, he still treats her in a good way. He compliments
her on her appearance and helps her when she goes to sit down. Atticus
sets examples to teach Jem and Scout vital values that will benefit
them in life.

The way Atticus raised his children also plays a part in re-shaping
his society for the better. He teaches Jem and Scout valuable lessons
that help the next generation to break the cycle of discrimination.
For example, when Atticus says " You never really understand a person
until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb
into his skin and walk around in it". This teaches the children not to
judge people weather they are black, white, rich, or poor, until they
understand their situation. He also teaches his children not to hurt
or hate anyone that has done nothing to provoke them. The reader can
see the view Atticus has on unnecessary hatred and how he strongly
believes in equality. Jem and Scout calling Atticus by his name and
not “father” or “daddy” shows this.
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