To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

March 13, 2011
The famous African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child” has been quoted time and time again, but it was never so clear as seen in “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee. The two Finch children in the story, Jem and Scout, would be taught life lessons for better of for worse by the residents of Macomb, from Atticus and Boo Radley to even Bob Ewell, and because of it their lives would be changed forever.

There were only a few reliable people in Macomb with which Jem and Scout could actually learn worthy and morally good life lessons from. One of the most important of the honorable few was their own father, Atticus. He would personally tell them life lessons, but most importantly he led by example He would defend a black man with brutal charges against him in the Deep South. He defended this man because he believed that every man should have equal rights no matter what their color of skin. Plain and simple, he couldn’t live with himself if he hadn’t. He knew it would be a tough thing to do, but even though he knew the path would be difficult he chose it because it was a morally right one. His children because of his selfless act would follow his action of not avoiding something because it was hard, they would rather face their problems head on and do things that were morally right even though they weren’t necessarily the easy way out. Atticus though was not the only person who taught the children key lessons for the better.

Boo Radley, the children’s suspicious neighbor, also taught them a key lesson. This lesson was to be accepting of people and being devoid of prejudice. At fist the children thought that he was some sort of monster and that “was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that's why his hands were bloodstained”(13). Eventually though their ideas of him were greatly changed once they met him and later when he saved their lives. They no longer called him a monster but rather a friend. From now on it was absolute that they would no longer judge a book by its cover. It was sometimes hard not to though in the case of Bob Ewell and his tainted life lessons he offered the children.

Hate is one thing that Macomb had to teach Jem and Scout and there was plenty of it to go around. Its professor though was Bob Ewell. This ringleader of hate showed how racist town of Macomb could get with his atrocious
lie. With this one lie the worst sides of people were brought out. Their sinister life lesson for the children was that if you weren’t white and were convicted of a crime you probably did it. That all man was not created equal, but rather white was the superior race and that all other races were sub-human.

Life lessons are lessons not easily lost and forgotten, yet some are better to be ignored of and at times even fought against. Jem and Scout were both deeply affected by the life lessons that that they were taught. Macomb surely was a “village” full of life lessons to offer to Finch children, they just had to be careful of whose lessons they followed.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

SecretBliss said...
Mar. 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm
what a cowinkydink i'm reading this book now for my English calss!
Gettysburg63 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 9:26 pm
I bet it's a mandatory read at most schools. Too bad most kids don't seem to get anything from this book.
bleep said...
Mar. 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Its a really good book


Gettysburg63 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 21, 2011 at 7:55 am
Yes it is. Probably the best I read last year.
Gettysburg63 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 14, 2011 at 6:20 pm
Coo, I got published online
Gettysburg63 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 14, 2011 at 6:23 pm
Cool, I meant to say. Oh well too late now. Well, I wrote this essay for my English class last year. Hope it is interesting to you!
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