Last Updated 07 Jul 2020

To Kill a Mockingbird: a Literary Analysis

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In the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee tells the reader about the people living in Maycomb County. Throughout the three years we follow these characters; we see how they interact with each other and learn how love and hate are complex emotions. This essay will examine love for family, romantic love, and love for community in order to show how complicated the emotions of love and hate can be. Jem and Scout are growing up in a loving family. Calpurnia is the mother figure to the children. She makes sure both kids are fed and ready for school. She scolds them and watches after them.

She takes them to Church and shares the values she has been taught. Atticus is a loving father to Jem and Scout. He always makes time for them. He shares stories with them and helps them to understand the world around them. By helping others in the community and sharing his feelings about understanding others with his children, Atticus is a good role model for Jem and Scout. As siblings, Jem and Scout clearly share a love for each other. They play together, tell each other their secrets and look out for each other. Unfortunately, not all children in Maycomb grow up loved or taught how to love.

Mr. Ewell is a mean drunk who does not pay any attention to his family. He does not even make sure that they are fed. He hates people in general and Black people most of all. When he sees his daughter trying to kiss Tom Robinson, he is blinded by hatred and accuses this innocent man of raping her. He is teaching his daughter to hate. As a result, she did not tell the truth in court. Nathan Radley did not show his family love either. Boo has spent his entire life as a prisoner of his own home because his father was overzealous in punishing him for a childhood mistake.

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He also covers the knot hole with tar when he discovers that Boo has been making contact and developing a friendship with Jem and Scout. However, Boo is not the kind of person to learn hatred. He puts a blanket over Scout’s shoulders when she is watching the fire and he saves Jem and Scout when they are attacked by Mr. Ewell. There are not many examples of romantic love in this book. Although Atticus is very involved in the community, he is single and not dating anyone. We do not learn much about Calpurnia’s home life. One example of romantic love that Harper Lee does provide is with Mayella Ewell.

She is abused, lonely and unhappy. She fantasizes about being loved and develops a crush on Tom Robinson. Although they never have any real relationship, the idea of one brings out the racist hate for Blacks and divides the community. It also has terrible consequences for Tom. The second example of romantic love is Mr. Raymond, a white man who married a black woman and has mixed children. Mr. Raymond tells the kids that he pretends to be an alcoholic by carrying around a paper bag with a bottle of Coca-Cola inside. He can see that love is not reserved just for people who look like you and live like you do.

Because of the racism in town, Mr. Raymond feels the need to fake and illness to help people understand his choice to marry a black woman. Yet, the people in Maycomb do look out for each other too. For example, the whole town works together to save Miss Maudie’s things when there is a fire in her house. The real problem is that they seem to care about only those people who are like them. In chapter 23, Jem describes four kinds of "folks" in Maycomb County: "Our kind of folks don't like the Cunninghams, the Cunninghams don't like the Ewells, and the Ewells hate and despise the colored folks. This attitude in Maycomb means that the people in the community will continue to be divided. Scout understands this and says, "There's just one kind of folks. Folks. " Harper Lee stresses this point with the incident outside the courthouse. Scout doesn’t comprehend what is going on, so she greets Mr. Cunningham warmly and asks him to say “hey” to his son for her. This greeting reminds him that they live in a small town and that everybody should get along. He breaks up the lynch group and everybody goes home.

In fact, rather than being Cunninghams or Ewells, the majority of the people in town are more like mockingbirds. They live their lives and don’t really do any harm to those around them. Atticus tries to tell the children that loving or hating are not nearly as important as understanding others. On page 39, Atticus explains, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. ” This simple advice helps to replace simple categories of loving or hating with a one mixed with respect and compassion.

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