To Kill A Mockingbird - Knowledge and Courage

To Kill A Mockingbird - Knowledge and Courage

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To Kill A Mockingbird - Knowledge and Courage



To Kill a Mockingbird is not a story about birds, or animal abuse. This novel is a book of knowledge and courage which both teaches and fixes people's view of life. Even though the title is "To Kill a Mockingbird," it is suitable to entitle it as to kill our stubborn misconceptions. This novel is full of courage shown by Harper Lee. During her lifetime, there was a huge concept of racism going on in America. However, Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, which is about racism in the society, to go against racism that is overwhelmingly real. To present her message her through her book to the society was a very dangerous action. However, this book touched people's deepest heart, and people's conscience and awakened them to the painful reality. Therefore, this novel is one of the finest classic American novels and is universally acclaimed, because of three reasons. To Kill a Mockingbird educates the whole world about racism around the world, and the themes that teach knowledge about life.


Harper Lee expresses the merciless global racism through her book. Not only are the colored people criticized from the whites but also the Radleys are part of the white society that was discriminated. The Radleys lived differently from the rest of the Maycomb people. However, just by living in a different style, the people believed that they were different human beings. Even Jeremy described Boo Radley as "[he] [is] about six-and-a- half feet tall, judging form his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that is why his hands were bloodstained."(P13) This is rather a description suitable for monsters than a human being. Just by a different life style, people create weird concepts about Radley. Also, racism in Maycomb is very serious, they have different churches and different picnic areas. They consider "nigger-lover" as one of the abusive language, however, "nigger-lover" is used by "ignorant, trashy people"(p108) when they believe somebody's favoring Negroes over and above themselves."(P108) People who are jealous of people who love black people more than white people use this "ugly term to label somebody."(P108) Racism comes from different lifestyle, or different appearance.

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However, once this digs a gap between two societies, it builds up a great feeling of dislike between two societies. They just need to understand each other but by trying to keep their own egoistic minds, they create racism. If they can not understand each other, then everyone would have to live in jail alone. This is why racism is a foolish idea. Once whites believe that blacks are lower than they are, this is the same as approving themselves that they are equal to the blacks. This is because if people get insulted and respond back to the name "nigger-lover", "it just shows how poor that person is."(P108) This is just the same as when Jem and Scout fights, although Scout loses, she believes Jem and she is equal because "[Jem] [is] fighting [Scout] back."(P138) As Atticus agrees that he is a nigger-lover, and this is because "[he] [want] to do [his] best to love everybody"(p108); it is important to love everybody in order to understand each other.


There are two main universal themes in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Courage and maturity are the two main universal themes, which teaches people about life. There is courage in almost every single character in this novel. First of all Harper Lee has the courage to write this book, and publish it. The children in this book, Jem, Scout and Dill learn real courage in their childhood. They are almost forced to face the reality at young age and understand it. It must be very hard and painful for younger children, who are filled with innocence in their heart, to understand the reality of unfairness. However, they did see it through people living in Maycomb and watching the trial. Jem is able to conquer his fear of Mrs. Dubose when he was able to apologize to her. Scout has the courage to run to her father when people were trying to harm Atticus. Atticus has courage to stand for what he believes even though the whole community believes it was wrong. This idea not only provides courage to readers but also teaches them how to stand out in front of the society although the whole society hates it. This idea is what people really need in order to break the idea of racism. Also the second main theme, which is maturity shows great change and achievements in one's life. Scout in the beginning is a young innocent child. However, as she experiences different situations and faces the reality, she gains the knowledge about life. Her understanding allows her to grow. She knows the difference between reality and fantasy. She started to look at things differently and able to decide which one is right and which one is wrong. At the end of this novel, Scout believes that "Jem and [Scout] would get grown but there was not much else left for us to learn."(P279) This is because she has seen the reality of the world and she is enlightened that most people are really nice when [one] finally [sees] them."(P281) She finally found out that people are more the same than different.


Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird is enriched with knowledge about life such as racism and universal themes. This book emphasizes how human beings are all the same inside their heart. With her unique format of writing style, Harper Lee inserted many witty remarks in her novel. Her book is easy to follow and it grabs readers' attention through connecting short stories and create a whole piece. Although it is made up of short stories they are all connected and very clear. She added on universal themes which people know but do not take it by heart. She knows that in this universe there are connections in every aspect, and no matter what, human beings are human beings. There is no greater person or no lower person. They are all equal and they are actually all very kind deep inside their heart. Therefore, understanding is the most important wisdom in order to live. This knowledge is needed for teenagers, adults, and people all over the world. Therefore, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the finest classic American novels and a story of universal.

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