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Hanna O-Lee

Ms. Starry

English 9 Honors: Period 3

02 November 2017

To Kill a Mockingbird​ Essay

It is said that there is one pivotal moment in life that changes everything from then on

out. In Harper Lee’s ​To Kill a Mockingbird​, eight-year-old Scout Finch gets to experience that

moment while standing on the Radley porch. Her self-realization allows her to conquer the

internal and external conflicts she has been facing throughout the entire novel. Scout looks at

justice, inequality, childhood, society, and prejudice all at the same time, discovering the flaws

of life are what had been shaping her character from the very beginning. The author’s ability to

relate a conflict as major as social prejudice to the life a little girl in Alabama is quite significant

when one looks at the big picture.

Thinking over what had happened throughout the past year, Scout Finch recalls when the

mysterious Boo Radley had left two soap dolls, a broken watch, an old chain, and good-luck

pennies in the tree knot for her and Jem to find. She realizes that “We never put back into the

tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad” (Lee 373). The

third-grader develops a sense of self-awareness in how her actions affect those around her.

Unknowing of Arthur Radley’s true character, she feels regret in failing to return his kindness.

This is Scout growing up out of early childhood and opening her eyes to see a new life chapter.

Lee teaches many lessons in her writing, and one of them emphasizes how people should

not harm helpless innocents. It is a sin to kill a mockingbird. Scout tells how the creepy monster
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neighbor of her childhood “gave us...our lives” (Lee 373). She, Jem, and Dill used to joke

around and imagine what kind of life the creature nextdoor was living, but they never gave a

thought to who Boo actually was. In reality, Arthur is a shy and caring human being who saves

the lives of the two Finch children from Bob Ewell’s attempt to kill them. Scout learns to be less

judgemental of other people, for the very same monstrous, dangerous, and inhumane Boo Radley

of her imagination happens to be the one who becomes her life hero.

Another message that Lee wants to express in the novel is the fact that human morality

extends to the flaws of social inequality. The Tom Robinson case is the most obvious example

to point out. “Summer, and he watched his children’s heart break” (Lee 374). Atticus, the voice

of morality in the story, is unable to bring justice to Maycomb County’s culture of racial

discrimination. The children watch the court trial as they realized their childhood innocence is

not the same as a black man’s innocence in the eyes of society at the time.

This reading classic teaches readers of all ages how to learn from past mistakes. Social

prejudice was a mistake in history that will never be erased. It left a mark people must

remember and move forward from. These themes give much meaning to the purpose of why Lee

chose to write this specific piece of famous literature. The society of today, as the people who

will control tomorrow, must reflect on the past and take actions that benefit the future for all.
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Works Cited

Lee, Harper. ​To Kill a Mockingbird​. Grand Central Publishing, 1960.