The Prior Personages of “To Kill a Mockingbird”
In the modern American novel, there are numerous incredible phenomena, which, as a rule, are marked by a quite gloomy, sometimes painful outlook on life. To Kill a Mockingbird is a rare exception to this principle. It shows not a painted picture but a being in all its contrasts, in the absence of a favorable common denominator. We see a kind, brave, thoughtful person who seeks friendly relations with neighbors and tries to properly educate their children.
Brief Review of “To Kill a Mockingbird”
The mentioned work by Harper Lee, released in 1960, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and studied in 80% of American schools. The book reveals the actual problem of interracial relations. At the center of the plot is a trial, during which the father of the main heroine, Atticus Finch, tries to justify the Negro who allegedly raped a white woman.
A small town is divided into two parts. The majority condemns the lawyer and demands to sentence the accused to an electric chair without any investigation. His dominant fault is not in crime but in skin color. In the 30s, in many southern states, the Negro was automatically guilty of all the troubles, as he or she was a savage who did not want to see the light.
The title of the book expresses the priority author’s intention – mockingbird is a funny and harmless bird. It does not spoil crops so killing a bird is a sin in Alabama. When the uncle gives Jean-Louise and Jim the wind guns, the father, not too pleased with such a gift, warns once again about this hunting commandment. There is a symbolic meaning. Not to kill a mockingbird means not to commit senselessly cruel acts.
The story is conducted on behalf of the eight-year-old Jean-Louise, therefore everything that is happening is given through the perception of an observant. She is independent in judgment but a naive child. From time to time, discreetly interrupting the girl, the adult Jean-Louise, an intelligent and ironic woman, enters the game. This mobile angle of view allows the writer, without resorting to the banal reception of various storytellers, to simultaneously talk about the most serious and funniest things, while maintaining all the charm of immediacy.
Whole List of Characters
Scout Finch is an eight-year-old girl who lives with her father; she is intelligent, curious, and kind to everyone around her. She does not hesitate to ask uncomfortable queries, trying to search the truth.
Atticus Finch is a respected attorney who brings up two children; he is one of the few supporters of racial equality, which makes him a victim of potential attacks. His main features are resoluteness, adherence to principles, and a great sense of humor.
Jem Finch is an ordinary American boy who dreams of becoming a football star; as an older brother, he distances himself from his younger sister, remaining her close friend.
Arthur “Boo” Radley is a hermit who does not step outside the doors of his house; he is the reason for a lot of childhood fantasies.
Bob Ewell is a famous drunkard and a bummer. His personage embodies ignorance and squalor.
Charles Baker Harris is a boy with a wild imagination and a constant companion Scout for games.
Miss Maudie Atkinson is a widow who does not hide her sarcasm about the city’s residents. She shares a passion for justice and gets along well with kids.
Calpurnia is a Finch family cook; her heroine adheres to strict discipline and serves as a bridge between the world of blacks and whites.
Aunt Alexandra is the sister of Atticus, a strong-willed woman with a fanatical commitment to observing traditions. She often conflicts with his brother.
Mayella Ewell is the daughter of Bob Ewell, who claimed rape.
Tom Robinson is a Negro accused of a crime; he embodies crushed innocence as one of the mockingbirds of the novel.
Link Deas is an employer of Tom Robinson; at the trial, flatteringly speaks of his temper, which contradicts the mood of the whole city.
Ms. Henry Lafayette Dubose is an elderly, spiteful woman who hates the Negroes.
Nathan Radley is Bu’s older brother
Heck Tate is Sheriff in Maycomb and the main witness in the lawsuit;
Mr. Underwood is the editor of a local newspaper.
Mr. Dolphus Raymond is a rich white man who lives with his black mistress and Mulat children. He considers the native community to be hypocritical and deceitful.
Mr. Walter Cunningham is a farmer who advocates the lynching of Tom Robinson.
Despite her small age, this girl is distinguished by the mind, self-reliance, and the desire for truth. We see how she fearlessly enters into battle with the boys, shows concern in the struggle between evil and good, guided only by good intentions. From the position of status, she differs from the typical inhabitants of the southern states.
Her father makes a lot of efforts to teach her independent thinking and preserving her individuality; he protects her from hypocrisy, explaining their essence, not avoiding answers to the questions posed. Scout does not learn manners or small talks. She prefers to climb trees and run around the local surroundings.
She is frequently embarrassed by the behavior of some adults who adhere to double standards; the girl fully supports the father in his quest to protect the innocent. The novel allows you to trace the evolution of her beliefs. After the first contact with evil, the touch of good nature flies from her heart. Scout realizes that the world is cruel, but Atticus convinces her that humanity can defeat hatred if it shows compassion for other people.
Before us is a man of the same variety, which, apparently because of the abundance of surrogates, is usually called real. He is endowed with high qualities of mind and heart. We quickly become imbued with sympathy for the share of the happy father of two dearest offspring. Only once Atticus had to take a gun in his hand when a rabid dog ran along the street.
In his entire life, he did not utter a single lush or demagogic phrase. By inducing something to his children or answering their risky queries, he usually resorted to a somewhat parodist, dry legal style. In court, completely breaking the version built by the prosecutors of Tom Robinson, he utters his speech without loud words or emotions.
He appeals to the common sense of the jury, reminding them of the equality of all before the law. The latter consists of the neighborhood farmers, fierce with depression, recognize Tom Robinson as guilty. Still, Finch’s speech, his calm, laconic courage was not in vain. It turns out that the jury was not unanimous in their disputes, which was an unprecedented fact in such processes; the memory of the injustice left to live in the hearts of citizens of Maycomb.
However, a moral code, which is imperceptibly developed in everyday life experience in the Finch family, is much richer. At its core lies the truth. In this family, all questions are answered with varying degrees of detail but always true. Respect for children, which does not exclude discipline and exactingness, permeates attitudes of Atticus with his son and daughter.
Unlike her sister, just beginning her adult way, her brother is in the thick of his doubts and pressure from public opinion. He is a teenager who values his reputation and painfully perceives the lawsuit. The news of trampled justice leads to a deep disappointment not only of the system but also of the inhabitants of the town.
Jem feels confused, critically assessing the intellectual abilities of the jury. During the novel, the boy repeatedly demonstrates support to his father, showing respect for his determination; the hero just needs time to reevaluate what he has seen and draw the right conclusions.
Unexpected help from Boo Radley in the fight opens new horizons for Jem; he restores faith in the nobility of human. The writer demonstrates the lessons he learned from Robinson’s fate. After seeing a destroying the good, Jem seeks to defense everything fragile and innocuous, just like mockers.
Jem gradually gets rid of the initial cynicism that manifests itself in his story about the hermit. His moral maturity was to no small extent facilitated by Mrs. Dubose who was trying to refuse from the habit of using morphine. Through pain, reluctance, and perseverance, the boy perceives his mission and begins to be proud of it.
Arthur Boo Radley
He represents the hermit who leads a closed way of life. The character does not go beyond the walls of the residence, limiting his own space to a room with curtained windows. Boo only watches the games of other children. He is trying to get their attention through gifts in the hollow of a tree.
Arthur causes a lot of guesses and horror stories, although he is distinguished by great kindness and serenity. It is he who rushes to the aid of the Scout when they fall victim to the attack; having become a prey of the brutality of his own father, he experiences fear, which he cannot overcome. Boo is also a Mockingbird, affected by reckless human evil.
Thus, Harper Lee’s novel is not just a story, artistically embodied on paper and distributed throughout the world. The author managed to translate prejudices, progress, growing up, childhood, hatred, and faith in good by the example of one event from the life of the Finch family.