“To Kill A Mockingbird” Loosing Innocence
People can get away with killing pigeons, cardinals, and blue jays, but it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. A mockingbird wouldn’t hurt anything; it’s only purpose is to sing songs for the everyday people. Jem and Scout had to restrain from shooting the mockingbirds due to their father’s warning. The novel To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee, is written from the view point of a little girl, Scout, in the 1930’s during the Great Depression. Her father, Atticus, is assigned a court case where he has to defend an African American that is accused of raping and assaulting a white woman.
While her dad is away at work, Scout, her older brother Jem, and summertime friend Dill try to make their mysterious and perhaps dangerous neighbor, Boo Radley, come out of his house. A major theme throughout the novel is loss of innocence. When people lose their innocence it changes their viewpoint on life. It also can cause them to have a sudden realization that can mess with their emotions, which causes them to have a new outlook on life. In To Kill a Mocking Bird, all of the characters lose their innocence one way or another, and it has given them a more mature viewpoint of life.
“To Kill A Mockingbird” Loosing Innocence Essay Example
First, Jem lost his innocence, and it made him very troubled. Next, Boo Radley lost his innocence, and it caused him to look out for Scout and Jem. Lastly, Scout lost her innocence, and it caused her to learn that life isn’t fair. First, Jem lost his innocence when Atticus unfairly lost the court case even though it was clear that he should’ve won. All of the evidence in the case was in Tom’s favor, but since this case took place in the 1930’s down south any jury was going to rule against any black man. Jem didn’t understand that, though. Jem only looked at the facts, not what they look like or the race of Tom.
Scout looked at him in the court room when they were receiving the verdict, “I peaked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each ‘guilty’ was a separate stab between them” (Lee 211). At first, Jem didn’t understand why the jury could convict a clearly innocent man. Eventually Jem began to realize that even though all the evidence could be in favor of an African American, the jury is going to rule against him due to the color of their skin because that was the racist mindset down south during the 1930’s.
Although Jem understood it, he didn’t agree with it. After the verdict was given he was talking with Miss Maudie “it’s like bein’ a caterpillar in a cocoon, that’s what it is. Like somethin’ asleep wrapped up in a warm place. I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that’s what they seemed like” (Lee 288). By Jem coming out of his cocoon he must face the cruelties of reality and abandon the shielded world that Atticus has created for his children, which became a big challenge for him when entering manhood.
Jem matured when he learned that people can’t always get what they want, and the innocent don’t always prevail. Secondly, Boo lost his innocence when he left the comfort of his house to protect and care for Jem and Scout and when the children realized that he actually exists. All of his life he was locked up inside of his house by his father because in his teenage years he ran into trouble with the law, and his father didn’t really know what to do with him.
The people of Maycomb never heard or saw him so they assumed he was a mysterious freak, dead, or in Jem’s case, “Boo was about six and a half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch… long jagged scar that ran across his face…” (Lee 16). Nobody really knew anything about Boo, causing the children to make wild assumptions that aren’t true. However, All of Scout and Jem’s life, Boo was looking out for them. After the fire at Miss Maudie’s house Atticus explained to Scout that, “Boo Radley.
You were so busy looking at the fire you didn’t know it when he put the blanket around you” (Lee 96). Boo Radley doesn’t do much, but when he does it’s a big deal. He usually just locks himself up in the loneliness of his house, so when Scout found out that he was right behind her she made a huge deal about it. Boo always has the best intentions for Jem and Scout and he only leaves the house to watch after them. Boo was continuously leaving little hints for the children to know about his existence. First he was leaving hints with the items he left in the tree for them, then he put the blanket on Scout.
Boo is also responsible for saving the lives of Scout and Jem. “Thank you for my children, Arthur” (Lee 370). Boo finally revealed himself to the children when he saved them from Bob Ewell trying to kill them. Since Boo grew up with never leaving the house very much, when Boo finally did leave his house he grew up. He would have to deal with a new environment. He matured when he had the courage to leave the house and not be in “his element”, which would be in the darkness and loneliness of his house.
Lastly, Scout lost her innocence when she realized that Boo Radley exists and when she walked him home for the first and final time. Most of Scout’s childhood revolved around trying to get Boo to come out of his house, so when she finally met him her childhood was practically over. The big mystery of Boo Radley was solved. Scout even admitted that, “there wasn’t much else for us to learn, expect possibly algebra” (Lee 374). Once she met Boo there wasn’t really anything else for her to learn because her childhood was focused around getting Boo to come out.
Also, when Scout lost her innocence it caused her to step in Boo’s shoes and see/feel from his viewpoint. “Atticus was right, one time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough” (Lee 374). Scout decided to follow her father’s advice and act like an adult about things. Instead of Scout judging Boo for what he’s done all these years, she decided to understand what he’s gone through by stepping in his shoes by standing on his porch and imagine what he’s seen by looking out his window.
She imagined him looking out the front window watching the children and neighborhood do different things throughout each season during the year. This changed her because she realized that someone who never comes out of their house could know everything they ever wanted to by just looking, it made Scout think that Boo was actually a person. A very good person, that is. Scout also realized that no matter how mysterious or creepy a person can seem, they’re totally different once you get to know them or take a walk in their shoes.
Scout matured when she found out that Boo actually exists and when she acted like an adult and stepped into Boo’s shoes and saw what he saw all these years of watching the children grow up. In conclusion, Jem, Boo, and Scout all matured one way or another when they lost their innocence. Throughout the book, they all encountered many things that caused them to lose their innocence. Jem matured when he lost his innocence by learning that you can’t always get what you want and the innocent don’t always prevail.
Boo matured when he lost his innocence by leaving his house to protect the children. Lastly, Scout matured when she lost her innocence by learning that Boo actually exists and when she stepped into Boo’s shoes and saw what he saw. Jem and Scout lost their innocence way too soon and Boo lost his innocence late in life. But, you can’t go through life without losing it and maturing. Losing their innocence gave everyone a more mature outlook on life, it also will affect the rest of their life by how they think and act. No more mockingbirds shall die, just listen to them sing.