To Kill A Mockingbird Essay
Life was hard for people of color in the South during the Jim Crow laws. More than
l4,000 blacks were lynched in the South throughout this time, and racism was at its peak. The
novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is set in the Jim Crow South during the 1930s. The
novel tells the story of Scout Finch and her family in Maycomb, Alabama. Scout is the daughter
of Atticus Finch, a white man chosen to defend a black man falsely accused of raping a white
woman. In this coming-of-age story, a young girl becomes aware of the prejudice in the world
around her and she changes over the course of the novel. She begins as innocent and naive them
becomes confused, and finally understand the racism in the end.
In the first part of the novel, Scout is an innocent and naive character. In this section of
the book when Scout and Jem have their friend Walter Cunningham over for dinner. Walter
doesn’t know much about table etiquette so he drowns his dinner in syrup. Scout calls him out
and Calpurnia was upset with Scout. She told her that that was not how you should treat
company. Scout said, “‘he ain’t company Cal, he’s just a Cunningham’” (Lee 24). This quote
proves that Scout is both innocent and naive because she doesn’t realize she’s making Walter
feel self-conscious. She’s too young to understand hospitality. Scout doesn’t know that no matter
what, you should make someone feel comfortable in your home. Another line that proves this is
when Dill asked Scout to marry him one summer while they were playing. The story says “he
had asked me earlier in the summer to marry him, then promptly forgot about it… Said I was the
only girl he’d ever love, then he neglected me” (Lee 41). Scout is innocent and naive in this part
of the story because she doesn’t yet know that being in love and marriage are for older people.
She and Dill are just kids, he could not have been serious.
In the middle of the novel, Scout becomes confused and curious about racism. At this
point in the novel, Scout and Dill are standing by a tree outside of the courthouse due to Dill’s
sudden outburst of tears. While they were out there they met Mr. Raymond. He was a white man
married to a black woman who had mixed children and pretended to be a drunk when in fact he
wasn’t. He began to explain his reasoning for this and Scout says, “‘I had a feeling that I
shouldn’t be here listening to this sinful man who had mixed children and didn’t care who knew
it, but he was fascinating’” (Lee 201). This quote proves that Scout is confused and curious about
racism because, although Scout calls him a sinful man she was...