To Kill A Mockingbird: Plot Analysis

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee tells the story of the young narrator’s passage from innocence to experience when her father confronts the racist jury and justice system of the rural court during the Depression-era. In witnessing the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man unfairly accused of raping a white European woman Mayella Ewell and the collective prejudice against “Boo” due to society in the town of Maycomb 1930. Maycomb consists of a racist white community and Clifton Grammar school which fuel prejudice against certain people within the town based on peer pressure and collective persecution and judgment without evidence. This book made me feel sad and angry about the tragic events that unfolded in the past and made me even more emotional to see that this was once reality for millions of people not only in America but around the world for much of history. it also made me grateful of the fact that I am born in a time and place on this Earth where I have never been judged or discriminated by those around me in arguably one of the least racist and one of the most multicultural places.

The event where the innocent colored man Tom Robinson was trialed after accusations made by Bob Ewell of raping his daughter Mayella. All the judges are white against a black man in a racist regressive town even Atticus who defended very well knew what he was getting into when he defended Tom “When it’s a white man’s world against a black mans, the white man always wins” this made me angry, we in today’s society are always told what’s right, what’s wrong and we decide these things based on human empathy and emotion yet in the racist society of Maycomb made me realize in the past it didn’t matter what was right or wrong if the majority of people decided upon something even if it was evil it would be carried out regardless. This was even acknowledged by the Author and stated in the book Scout: “Atticus you must be wrong…”how’s that” well most folk seem to think they’re right and you’re wrong”. This quote angered me Scout stated that Atticus was wrong not from any good given justified reason but because everyone else said so and Scout blindly sides with the majority saying “you must be wrong”. This made me reflect and really think about the events that happened in the past, this made me come to the realization that people did not want to confront their moral inconsistencies they just accepted it as truth and went on because it was a societal norm and the majority abided by it.

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I strongly believe if the people of the past were to critically think about their actions on discrimination and prejudice instead of going along with the majority such atrocities and evil would not have not lasted for as long as it did. I strongly agreed on the Authors portrayal of Atticus and his morality on the fact that humans weren’t inherently evil or good but most people had both good and bad qualities and his view on human empathy living in their place based on this quote “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view —” “Sir?” “— until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” I could not agree more with Atticus, I personally believe we can never completely understand one another unless we have lived their lives and experienced what they experience. However, I do think that we can respect one another by acknowledging the fact that we are human which is exactly what I felt when I read this quote “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks” and at the end of the day we are all human and share the same desire of happiness as everyone else which goes back to the saying treat others how you want to be treated. “Boo” was discriminated against too just not racially but due to public opinion and the “majority” even if it was a blatant and disgusting misjudgment of character and jumping to unfounded conclusions.

At the start of the book I thought there was more to Boo than the hearsay stories so I was curious on why and how he got to the point he was which goes back to my personal perspective of we can never completely understand one another unless we have lived their lives and experienced what they experience. When I learned about the circumstances of Boo’s childhood and how he was abused as a child it made me even more upset and the society of Maycomb instead of trying to support and understand him they collectively shunned him when in reality he was a caring and intelligent person someone who I truly believe was kind at heart. It made me feel angry that even the kids Scout, Dill and Jem were under the same impression of Boo just because everyone else painted a bad image of him and forced it upon the kids without even attempting to ever meet him. To me Boo and Tom both represented the innocence of the mockingbird destroyed by Maycomb’s evils.

Reading this book made me really appreciate the society we live in New Zealand today. My parents first came to New Zealand when there were predominantly Europeans and were racially targeted in school as they were an overwhelming minority just like the quote “white man against a black man in a white man’s world the white man always wins” the “white man’s world” represents the European majority and implies the majority has always been the prime mover. I am glad to be born in this time in a New Zealand school such as Botany unlike how my parents were. Botany is very multicultural and by living next to one another I think me and others around me have come to the realization that we are all the same as human beings and that is why our generation does not discriminate as we acknowledge these qualities just like Atticus Finch did in the book.

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