To Kill A Mockingbird Scout


To Kill A Mockingbird: Scout’s Development Essay, Research Paper

To Kill A Mockingbird: Scout’s Development

“Select a novel studied by you where at least one of the principal characters is

a young person. Discuss what you consider to be the most important influence in

the novel in helping that young person to develop.”

Jean-Louise Finch (Scout) is the main character in Harper Lee’s “To kill a

mockingbird”. She is a young girl who matures in the course of the novel. The

most important influence in her development is clearly her father, Atticus.

Unlike almost all other adults in Scout’s environment, he is not in any way

prejudiced against the black population of Maycomb, a small American town in

the 1930’s in which all the novel’s happenings take place. He tries to instill

his beliefs of the equality of all people in his daughter and his son, Jem, in

many discussions, he for instance states that whenever a white man cheats a

black man, the white man is “trash”. He is very modest, which is shown in an

incident in which he is asked to shoot a mad dog, which he manages to do with

one precise shot, yet he never told his children of his great talent for

marksmanship, and does not go hunting because he thinks it gives him an unfair

advantage over other living things.

The main event of the novel is a trial, in which Atticus is the defendant’s

lawyer, against a black man who has been falsely accused of raping a white

woman. Atticus does his best to prove Tom Robinson’s innocence, to a degree

where any objective jury would surely have found him not guilty, but it

sentences him to death, as it is expected to do by the general populace. Prior

to the trial, Scout and Jem are mocked by other children at school, which have

been told by their parents that Atticus will defend the offending black man.

Simply bearing this, as Atticus tells them to, instead of retaliating it

physically, which would have been a much more childlike behaviour, is also a

learning experience for them both. Towards the end of the novel, Atticus’s

belief in the good in mankind is shattered, namely when the allegedly raped

girl’s father, Bob Ewell, tries to murder Jem and Scout.

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