Emma Gutiérrez Ruíz
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Novela Norteamericana s.XX
Mª Eugenia Díez Sánchez
To Kill Purity in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Life is a difficult journey. Each human being has to be consistent of his own choices and acts to make easier this travel. But, what happens if someone is an innocent and pure child among the evilnessof a whole town? Can this person grow-up maintaining his innocence? In the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”—written by Harper Lee in 1960—it is presented to the reader the character of Scout, an innocent and moral girl of 5 years old that is surrounded by immoral and sinful people. The aim of this essay is to explain how the innocence of Scout is killed throughout the novel.
The theme ofinnocence is all over the novel. Since the beginning this theme is provided by the author. In the title it is chosen by the author the word mockingbird. This word gives name to a kind of birds that are mostly in America. These birds are known because of their capacity to imitate other calls of many birds. This bird is also known because of his good behavior; this bird never attacks other bird, animalor human unless he feels some kind of attack to him. This bird is a symbol of innocence and good. Knowing what this bird means, the author gives the reader the theme of the book since the title: kill the innocence or good. This innocence is shown through many characters, but mostly through Scout, a daughter of a widow lawyer of a small town in the south of North America. There is a relationbetween the mockingbird and this family, the Finches; Atticus, Jem and Scout Finch. Darwin, in his travel to the Galapagos Islands, found in each island a different kind of mockingbird; he called these nine different species of mockingbird “the Finches”. So the family is the symbol of the mockingbird but with a different name. The whole novel is “seen through the eyes of an eight-year-old girl”, thelittle mockingbird. Horrible acts and passages of life are seen with the innocent eyes of a little girl.
The character of Scout is different to the other girls and boys of the age. Although the little Finch is a girl, she does not act in the same way as the other girls. She does not pay attention to dresses or to behave like a little lady. Atticus, her father, did not teach her to behave inthis way; she just has to behave in the way she wants, playing the whole summer with his brother Jem and a friend of them. The education that the lawyer gives to his children is completely opened and free. He does not occult information to them. Each day he reads newspapers or book to his children, as if they were adults. This fact makes Scout be more educated and developed than the otherchildren of her age. This fact gives more credibility to the story. Atticus also makes his children think about what is good or evil. Atticus hates weapons; he does not want to carry on gun although he knows he could be in danger. In chapter number 10 the lawyer tries to avoid his children to use a gun in a wrong way: “ ̒shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin tokill a mockingbird ̓” (98). With this statement the author is both introducing the kind of moral and education that the lawyer teaches to his children and the theme of the innocence through the word of the title.
It is the 30’s in America. The slavery has been abolished, but the prejudice against black people has not. The story of the novel takes place in Maycomb, a little town in which thesocial inequality is all around. It may be thought that life in a small town can be more innocent than in a big city, but the author tries to explain the reader that this kind of thoughts and behaviors are all around the world; it does not matter if it is in America or in Europe, in a small town or in a big city. Social inequality and the evil are all around. The prejudice of racism is shown...
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