To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee is an ageless classic that takes place during the 1930s. In the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, there was a deadly racial attitude towards the people who were different from the general public. In a town of tunnel vision and hatred, Atticus and Scout stood out with open minds.
Atticus was the anchor of reason in Maycomb. He understood many people in town and taught his children how to understand other people’s feeling as well. Atticus believed that if you knew what someone had been through, then you would understand them better. Atticus also made Jem and Scout realize that no one is pure evil; meaning that if you look hard enough, you would find that it is good in every person you meet. Mrs Dubose, who was perceived as an “old witch” by Jem and Scout, showed great bravery in her fight against drug addiction. Atticus believed Jem would change his opinions of Mrs Dubose if he spends some time with her.
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Only after Mrs Dubose’s death did Jem begin to perceive Mrs Dubose the same way his father did. Likewise, Atticus defended Tom Robinson when no other lawyer would. He was one of the few respectable people who were not blinded by the racial injustice Tom Robinson faced. Not only did Atticus defend Tom in the courthouse, but he also defended him at the jail on one occasion too. It happened when an angry mob was trying to kill Tom Robinson, but Atticus risked his life to save him from that mob. If only the people of Maycomb were willing to listen to Atticus’ wise advice, then the town would be free of racism.
Scout, symbolizing the leaders of tomorrow, began to see how other people perceived things. She started to understand the meaning of “to kill a mockingbird.” At first, Scout couldn’t comprehend what Atticus meant when he said, “It was a sin to kill a mockingbird.” As the novel progressed, Scout began to realize how people contributed to the community without harming others. For example, when Boo Radley (the shy neighbour who never went outside) killed Bob Ewell to save Jem and Scout, the sheriff of Maycomb County tried to cover it up. Heck Tate, who was the sheriff, believed that “…taking the one man who’s done you and this town a great service an’ draggin’ him with his shy ways into the limelight” (279) was a sin. Tate reasoned that Boo would have hated being praised a hero by the townspeople because he was so shy. Because she had a child-like innocence and believed that racism is wrong, she could have been the perfect role model for people of all ages.
Atticus and Scout, the few people in Maycomb who had enough senses to see the injustice of discrimination. Some people may ask how a whole town could be consumed by hatred. But even today our world continues to deal with racism. If people like Atticus and Scout did not exist in our world, then mankind would be in forever war until we completely destroy each other.
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