“To Kill a Mocking Bird”, written by Harper Lee, depicts the story told by a little girl named Scout who grew up in Maycomb County in Alabama with her father Atticus and brother Jem. Scout is an independent minded girl who is pressured throughout the book to be more like a lady. As she grows, Scout’s experiences with school are not pleasant. Once school is out, Jem and Scout make friends with Dill, a kid who comes to live with his aunt in Maycomb in the summer. Dill incites curiosity in Scout and Jem about Boo Radley, a recluse who was supposed to have been locked in the house all these years. The children become fascinated and start provoking Boo to come out by sending letters to him and acting out his life. Atticus confronts them and asks them to put themselves in Boo’s shoes to see life from his perspective. Boo shows indirectly shows up in brief spurts throughout the novel. He gives Scout a blanket when she is outside in the cold witnessing a fire in a neighbor's house. Boo also mends Jem's pants when they get stuck on the fence. He does both of these acts without anyone seeing him.
Later, Atticus tests himself and accepts to defend a black man, who is accused of rape, in court. Atticus is one of the few people not racist in Maycomb County and everyone is angry with him for defending the accused Tom Robinson. Consequently, various people in the town criticize the family starting from the children at school to people within the family. Francis, Scout’s cousin, says to her that Atticus is, “nothin’ but a nigger-lover” (94). When the case arrives to court, Scout and Jem secretly witness Atticus in the courtroom interrogating Mayella, the victim and Bob Ewell, the victim’s father. After the case a newspaper editor stated that killing Tom would be like, “the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children” (275). Additionally, the proceedings in the court made Bob feel that everyone involved made him seem foolish. He made it a personal mission to get revenge. It would cost him but Bob would indirectly get his revenge on Atticus; however, Boo steps in to prevent even more cataclysmic events.
1. In the novel two extremes of parenting are represented. Atticus is the lenient parent and lets his kids roam free and learn about the world firsthand; however, it is a mystery how neither of the children encounter any expected danger for a while. On the other side is Boo Radley’s father. He was a strict figure and overpowered Boo. This caused Boo to act out as a child and become involved in mischief; however, Boo proved to turn out kind-hearted and generous. Which style of parenting is better and why?
2. Throughout the novel Scout is pressured into being a proper lady. Scout remains strong to her individuality until she gets dragged by her Aunt Alexandra to a lady’s meeting. She soon realizes that these women are interesting. In your opinion should one excise activities and behavior contradictory to one’s unique personality or should one venture out in the world keeping an open mind and develop interests in new areas? Why?