Nelle Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird Character Analysis

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of my favorite classic books. This book highlights many different things, including the social awakening of a young girl, the social bias within the young girl's small town, and the blatant racism in the South. This novel tackles a lot of different social issues but focuses mainly on the emergence and discovery of the bad side of humanity through the eyes of a young southern girl and To Kill a Mockingbird character analysis.

When Scout, the narrator, father, Atticus, defended a black man wrongly accused of rape, she gains insight into life in her small town, herself, as well as into the life of her father. In the novel, Scout is forced to confront her previous understandings. This comes when Tom is found guilty of rape despite his innocence. Scout comes face-to-face with her prejudices through her experiences with Boo Radley, the town's own ghost story. Towards the end of the novel, when Boo saves Scout and her brother, Jem, Scout realizes Boo is nothing like the ghost story she has been told all her life.

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She then saw Boo as the human he is and realized the falseness of the ghost story.

At the same time, Scout is exposed to the terrible reality of human nature within her small town. The racist, unfair conviction and murder of Tom Robinson and the hostility of Bob Ewell force Scout to be exposed to social inequality and the dark, unknown to her, aspects of humanity.

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Throughout the novel, Atticus represents the good side of humanity, but as Scout begins to notice more about those around her, she begins to see his struggle to stay within the realm of good in a world where it is difficult to do so.

When it comes to influential people in the novel, Scout’s father, Atticus, was one of the major players. “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”, is a quote from Atticus that represents how society should be. This quote demonstrates how Atticus considers everything that someone is going through, and he tried to pass this characteristic along to Scout and Jem. In the novel, Atticus defended Tom Robinson, which was a difficult thing to do while living in an extremely racist and biased town. Even faced with this prejudice, Atticus gives Tom his all, and in doing so, he demonstrates the good side of humanity and the compassion that goes along with it. From the quote mentioned above, Atticus is demonstrated as an upstanding citizen, which is exactly the role he fits.

One of the major events in To Kill a Mockingbird happens in chapter nine when Scout learns that her father is defending a local black man, Tom Robinson, who has been charged with the rape of Mayella Ewell, a local white woman. When Scout and Jem are verbally harassed by their neighbor Mrs. Dubose concerning their father’s work, Jem retaliates by destroying her garden of camellias. As punishment from his father, he is required to read to Mrs. Dubose every afternoon for one month. About a week after Jem’s punishment is up, Mrs. Dubose dies because she is a morphine addict. She was determined to overcome her addiction before she died, and she used the reading as a way to get away from the drugs. This event further develops the idea of empathy for others in Scout's mind by understanding their situations, or “walking in their shoes”.

The conviction of Tom Robinson and Atticus’s empathy toward Tom is demonstrated when he spends the night guarding Tom’s jail cell. The racist, majorly white, community in Maycomb is outraged because Tom is still alive, and attempts to lynch him while Atticus is present. Scout saves the men by interrupting the attempted lynching and, without trying, reminding the mob of their children and how they would feel if they were present as well. Even though Scout is central to the attempted lynching, she does not fully understand exactly what is happening. Scout’s narration throughout the entire book is done through a window of innocence and childlike nature, which gives readers a clear reminder of their childhood.

A few months after the trial of Tom Robinson, Bob Ewell attacks Scout and Jem when they are on their way home from the school play Scout had been a part of. Despite Tom’s wrongful conviction for the rape of his daughter, Bob Ewell still feels humiliated by the events of the trial and seeks revenge on anyone involved in the trial, especially Atticus. During Bob’s attack on Scout and Jem, Jem’s arm gets broken, and Scout's costume gets a gash in it from a knife. Boo Radley comes out of hiding and rescues them by killing Bob with his knife. In this situation, Boo and this heroic act demonstrate how a close community can offer protection. However, Atticus’s decision to say Bob Ewell fell on his knife to protect Boo’s need for isolation also demonstrates that these two men still perceive the community as something that can be overwhelming at times. Boo’s kindness despite his hermit nature gives Scout a renewed faith in humanity and suggests that she feels prepared to face the world.

In conclusion. Everything Scout has been through has given her a new understanding of human nature, and the falling of this novel teaches us that humanity as a whole cannot survive without attempting to understand others or without ‘walking in someone else’s shoes, what is says To Kill a Mockingbird character analysis. While the ending of the book leaves us with a renewed hope for society, it also allows us to see the bad sides of humanity and recognize these as obstacles we can overcome.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Nelle Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird Character Analysis. (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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