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The pain the mockingbirds endure in To Kill a Mockingbird is quite sensational in that we pull a strong reaction through the reader’s eyes. Mockingbird’s in this novel have quite the figurative meaning, as well as a very literal one. I will take you through both, as we explore the main character Scout, and the four lessons she learns, and attains throughout To Kill a Mockingbird. These very useful, and challenging lessons are: Put yourself in others shoes, don’t kill mockingbirds, keep fighting even if you know you’ll loose, and the world is very unfair. Atticus (Scout’s father) is the one who teaches his daughter these lessons, and although the lessons took much time to learn and be fully appreciated, Scout see’s the world in a whole new way because of them. In a way I guess we could say, she was blind, but now can see.
First, I’d like to analyze the first lesson that Scout was taught- put yourself in other’s shoes. Now to fully examine this lesson, we must jump back in forth in this book, since this is the longest lesson Scout takes to determine. This lesson is centered around Scout’s relationship with Arthur Radley, aka Boo. Boo is one of Scout’s neighbors, however she has never seen him. There have always been many rumors circulating around Maycomb county about Boo, which I assume started when he was an adolescent. In his youth years Boo had gotten in trouble with the law numerous times. His father didn’t want his child staying anywhere else but home, so when his father passed, Boo was left in the house with his brother.
Since Boo was very reclusive, it was easy to target him as the weird, creepy man across the street. Scout, and her brother Jem find much interest and curiosity in Boo. They like to sneak around the house, and try to lure Boo to come out. Atticus scolds Scout that she should stop messing with the poor man, but Scout cannot help herself. Through the story, we see Boo do nothing but kind things toward the Finch children. Although it takes Scout much time to realize the good he has done for her, she see’s that she was so quick to judge and believe the rumors that everyone else had told. She never thought to think how Boo felt about the whole situation. At the end of the novel when Boo practically saves the lives of both Jem and Scout, we start to come to terms with the selflessness Arthur Radley had put forth toward the children.
Secondly, the next lesson that Scout learns is to not kill mockingbirds. Now this is so vague because of both the figurative and literal means it plays in the book. In my interpretation I see the two most true mockingbirds are Boo, and Tom Robinson. You see, the rule in society is not to kill a mockingbird because all they do is make pretty music, and they never do any harm. We see this shine through in both Boo, and Tom. Boo is isolated in the community of Maycomb because everyone wants to believe easy lies over the hard truth.
Boo doesn’t like to be noticed, as we see through the novel, and that’s why it is easy to target him. Now later on we see that Boo is of course not who the whole town makes him out to be, and that’s why he is a mockingbird. Now onto Tom Robinson. Tom is probably the most emotional, heart-wrenching character in TKMB. He is a black man accused of raping a white women. Tom is innocent, and was proven so. However since he is a black man, the color of his skin had already set a prerequisite to the trials outcome. He was accused of the crime and said to be guilty. Tom was later killed, and we truly see in a million and one ways that killing a mockingbird is just as bad as ending an innocent mans life just because the color of his skin.
Furthermore, this brings me onto the next lesson: Keep fighting even if you know you’ll loose. Atticus teaches this extremely important lesson to Scout in Tom Robinson’s trial. Although we see that all the facts point to Tom being innocent, his skin color has already determined the outcome of the verdict. Atticus has one of the biggest hearts in this novel, and a very open-mind. He hopes that the justice system will have a change of heart, and that is why no matter how stacked the odds were against Tom, and how much the community turned their backs on Atticus, he treated his case with Tom just as fair and equal as any other. Even when the jury declared Tom as a guilty man, Atticus went straight to work on finding a possible solution to freeing this man. Scout seems to not understand why Tom was declared guilty at first, but soon she realizes…which brings us to the fourth lesson.
The last lesson Scout learns is that the world is unfair. Not everything will turn out the way you want, even if you do everything right, or put your life at risk. Most outcomes are never what we can predict, and the earlier we learn this lesson, the better. Scout see’s that Tom Robinson was said to be guilty simply because he was black. I’d say this lesson was the most difficult for Scout to understand because it doesn’t make much sense, and possibly never will. The world is cruel, and unfair.
Tom was a dead man, and he had never done anything even close to hurting someone, much less raping a woman. We are so closed minded in the way we see the world. One quick look at something and we’ve made up our mind on whether or not it’s worth it. The world will chew you up and spit you back out even if you are a saint. There is no explanation to why bad things happen to good people, but Scout understands that these things do happen. With this she learns not to take life for granted, and matures in a way that only Harper Lee can explain.
In conclusion, TKMB has such a historical, geographical, cultural, and social impact on any reader. We see that the time frame of the book is during the great depression, and how we viewed the world in such a limited way back then. Today we are so much more advanced, and civil towards all kinds of cultural groups. There is no escaping the “disease” of racism, but as a world we have come a long way since the 1930’s. Also, we see how killing a mockingbird has such an influential effect on the making and shaping of this novel, but also the lesson a reader can take away with them after reading the book. Why would you want to end such a beautiful thing when there is so much evil else where in the world? Maybe, because the world is very unfair.