To Kill a Mockingbird Analysis
Our parents have the greatest influence on us as kids. They guide us through life when we are unable to help ourselves.
They teach us, from their experience, the difference of right and wrong, life lessons, and help us become independent. They teach us all of their wisdom in hope of helping us lead the best possible lives. In To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Atticus is a lawyer and the single father of scout and Jem Finch. They believe he is a decent father, but he is much older than everyone else’s parents.Atticus tries his best to teach them all about the world but he only has his view to teach from.
They lack a mother figure until Aunt Alexandra comes to live with them. Atticus tries his best to keep them out of his own problems when he tries to defend an African American in a court case. This book is set in the 1930’s in a town where no African American has ever won a case before. Atticus teaches Jem and Scout the best he can, while dealing with his own disputes, by letting them experience the troubles of society first-hand.He teaches them the equality of all human beings, to see events from other peoples points of view, and be brave when you know you’ll lose. The greatest lesson that Atticus teaches his kids is how to understand the people around them.
Atticus repeatedly tells Scout to look at events from other peoples point of view to understand their actions. When Miss Caroline mistakenly offers a quarter to a Cunningham, Atticus tells Scout, “If you learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks.You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view” (39). He explains to Scout that Miss Caroline didn’t know the history of the town or the people in it. She was neither right nor wrong in her actions; she was just misinformed about the Cunninghams and didn’t know any better .
Miss Caroline also tells Scout not to read anymore because it is you aren’t supposed to in first grade. She didn’t have anything against reading, but in college she learned to teach a certain way and was going to stick to it.After Atticus’ explanation Scout realizes her misjudgement and doesn’t read to Miss Caroline again. Atticus repeats this idea throughout the entire book until Scout finally starts applying it at the end of the book. After taking Boo home Scout realizes, “One time he [Atticus] said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough” (374) Scout is finally seeing the town from Boo’s point of view and comprehend why he never came out.
He had no reason to, and she was wrong to have tried to make him come out.Atticus is an excellent teacher and this is shown because he does get his point across to Scout that you can understand someone if you walk in their shoes. This will help Scout throughout her entire life so that she will never be unjust to anyone. Atticus is a great teacher because he teaches Jem and Scout by putting himself in their shoes to see their view on the world and telling them how to change it. He can see their problem and understand it, then help them fix it. Atticus also teaches fairness throughout the novel.
This is one lesson where he mostly lets them learn through real world experience. When Jem questions how the jury found Tom Robinson guilty when he so clearly was not, Atticus says, “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” (295). Racism is a main theme in this book. It is a court case in which there is a black man verses a white man.This is one of the few times where Atticus tells them there is a right and a wrong, and racism is wrong. Jem realizes this and cannot understand why the verdict came back guilty.
Atticus explains that some people just can’t get past race and realize that we are all the same species and we are equal. They are wrong, but that’s just how it is. Scout and Jem learn this through the town and just have to accept it even though they do not fully comprehend it. Jem thinks that the jury made the verdict quick, but Atticus corrects him, ” No it didn’t ..
.That was the one thing that made me think, well, this maybe the shadow of a beginning. That jury took a few hours. An inevitable verdict, maybe, but it usually takes ’em just a few minutes” (297). Atticus may have even taught the town a few lessons with his arguments in court.
The verdict took a long time, that means at least one man in there was defending Tom. He did get through to at least one man on that jury. Atticus is an excellent teacher because in one court case he taught a man to look past race and look toward truth.He persuaded the man to go against his common behavior that has been that way for centuries, he changed that man’s mind with his arguments. He teaches society, and lets society teach Jem and Scout, about the unnecessary and hateful practice of racism. One person can change a whole cities opinion.
Atticus also Jem and Scout what true bravery is. Scout asks Atticus why he is going to defend Tom Robinsons case if everybody will be unhappy with him and he’ll lose. Atticus replies, ” They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions…
ut before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience” (139). He is teaching Scout two lessons at once here. He is telling her that even though you were going to lose before you started, you have to be brave and try anyways. If Atticus didn’t take this case and work for it, he couldn’t live with himself because he would be cheating a black man to save himself.
Also, he teaches Scout that following society is not always a good idea.Society has some evils in it and if nobody tried to make a change, they would never fall. Scout learns that this is something Atticus has to do and not to give up when you think you’ll lose. In the end Atticus did change people’s minds. He didn’t truly lose. When Scout and Jem are told that they helped Ms Dubose overcome her morphine addiction, they still question Atticus why he wanted them to help.
He says, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is man with a gun in his hand.It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what” (149). He is telling them that Ms Dubose was brave, she was the perfect example of courage. She didn’t want to do addicted to morphine and she barely any chance to beat her addiction, but she tried anyway. She won, her bravery paid off. While she didn’t have very good morals, she was a good person in other ways.
He teaches this to Scout and Jem because they must be brave and fight, without fists, through the criticism that their family will take.Atticus is a perfect teacher. He is perfect in many ways in this book, he never does anything wrong. He can understand people and teach them in a way they will understand. He really gets through to Jem and Scout so they will be better people than the rest of Maycomb, he even gets through to the people of Maycomb.
He teaches Souct and Jem to understand other people’s faults, be brave when they criticize you and never place yourself above anyone else. This will help Scout and Jem become as close to perfect as Atticus, himself, is.