To Kill A Mockingbird : Character Analysis

873 Words4 Pages
This is how childhood is presented in the beginning of To Kill a Mockingbird: it’s a period of time that’s looked back on with a sense of longing; one thralled from the reality by the child’s inability to understand the cruelties of the world. Harper Lee constructs a sheltered innocence that defines the children’s earlier years, which she subsequently cracks away at with the aid of the events that unfold in Maycomb. What is perhaps the most prominent of these events is Atticus’ defense of Tom Robinson, which acts as a major driver in showing the kids in the novel the true nature of society. Harper Lee demonstrates in multiple instances how Scout and Jem are collateral for the negativity directed towards Atticus when he takes on the case of defending a negro. The court case of Tom Robinson is introduced through Scout’s eyes at the start of chapter nine, where the veracity of the situation is signified after Scout asks Atticus if whether “[they] are going to win [the case]” or not. The reply comes as a forthright “no”. Atticus is more than well aware of the injustice surrounding the case, and it’s clear that he has no intention of withholding the truth and is willing to shoulder the backlash that comes with his actions. The negative connotations tied to black people by the residents of Maycomb are shown to carry on over to Atticus, with many people denouncing him and accusing him of being a “nothin’ but a nigger-lover” for defending Tom Robinson. This interconnection of characters is further illustrated through how the kids are also targeted by the residents in the town for their father being “what he is”, exposing Scout and Jem to the many injustices of the real world. Atticus’ direct method of parenting; his mature treatment of his kids, also leads to much more overt and direct examples of how the case has resulted in the children’s loss of innocence. The essence of it, along with Atticus’ refusal to fabricate the truth, divulges the children in many of the dark, previously hidden, sides of society. They discover the meaning of things like rape: “carnal knowledge of a female by force and without consent”, witness the unfair treatment of black people in court first hand, and are forced to face the deeply
Get Access