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To Kill a Mockingbird Analytical

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The story was about Scout (Jean-Louise Finch) and her brother Jem who try to understand the real idea of sin in the little town ‘Maycomb’ in America. Their father (Atticus) became very unpopular when he tried to defend a Negro (Tom Robinson) who was wrongly accused. Jem and Scout learned from the case that evil comes in many shapes and sometimes things are not as straight forward as they think. They also learn how people react when they are forced to choose between their prejudice and what they know is right.

Scout and Jem lived with their father Atticus and their cook Calpurnia in ‘Maycomb’ which is an inward-looking town in Alabama, USA. Maycomb was a small, isolated and old town. Scout’s incomprehension of Maycomb and it’s goings-on add an element of humour to the novel. For example, when Maycomb is described in the first paragraphs. Scout conveys the idea to the reader that she did not want to grow up like ‘soft teacakes’ which is what other ladies are like in Maycomb and she thinks it’s unnecessary to conform to society that she must behave like a ‘lady’ and wear a ‘skirt’.

Atticus was a lawyer, who was a kind man that was willing and in a position to help people who had done no wrong. Atticus wanted to help Tom Robinson who was accused of the rape of Mayella Ewell for which he was being unjustly accused. The image of the Mockingbird first became clear on page 96 as,

” Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy…That’s why it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird”.

The theme of the Mockingbird therefore can be linked to Tom Robinson and the Blacks who had done no harm to anyone. But no matter what Tom was testifying in the court, in the eyes of the ‘White’ jury he will always be ‘guilty’. As the jury agreed he was guilty, he was then locked up in the prison waiting for his death. So instead of waiting his trial, his mind only thinks about running away. Unfortunately only gave people the impression that he had admitted his guilt. Therefore the novel tells us how the Maycomb people accepted that the Whites can kill the Blacks, but Blacks can’t kill the Whites. As for Atticus, it was the same thing as killing a Mockingbird.

Scout and Jem seemed to have had a nice childhood. They met their friend Dill one summer time, and they became friends. Dill was going to spend every summer with his aunt, Miss Rachel, who was Scout and Jem’s next door neighbour. And as Dill knows lots of drama, they start to act in different plays. For example Oliver Optic, Victor Appleton, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. As the same time they had built a little tree house for their plays. But gradually the dramas became vapid from countless reproduction, and it was then Dill gave Scout and Jem an idea of making Boo Radley came out.

The name of Boo Radley throughout the novel was a mystery. People hardly see him during the daytime and there was an incident when

“Mr Radley passed by Boo, he drove the scissors into his parent’s leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities”.

“Mrs Radley ran screaming into the street”…

The sheriff hadn’t the heart to put him in jail alongside Negroes, so Boo Radley was locked in the courthouse basement. This could show how White people received special treatment compared to Blacks. Near the end of the novel, Boo gave the impression to the reader that he wasn’t a bad person because he had saved Scout and Jem’s life.

Throughout the novel, the reader had an image about people who had lived there all their lives in Maycomb and had a large family network. The Haverford in Maycomb was ‘a name synonymous with jackass’, the Cunninghams were ‘an nearest thing to a gang ever seen in Maycomb’ and the Ewells had been ‘ the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations’. The Ewells were even seen to be below the Negroes as they lived behind the town garbage dump in what was ‘once a Negro cabin’. But the prejudice was so strong that the jury had taken Ewell’s word instead of the Blacks, and Tom Robinson was convicted of the rape of Mayella Ewell.

In Chapter two, Scout’s first day wasn’t going smoothly as she is scolded by the new teacher- Miss Caroline fisher, for knowing how to read and write, and for speaking out in Walter Cunningham’s favour. Jem tried to comfort Scout and he explains the reasons why she has scolded,

“Our teacher says Miss Caroline’s introducing a new way of teaching. She learned about it in college”.

This quotation shows how Miss Fisher was suspicious of the Maycomb people. And the novel also mentioned the word ‘immune’ in chapter two. It shows that the people of Maycomb regard some things as so foreign and threatening to their way of life, that they are comparable with disease. The education system in Maycomb is therefore shown to be quite backward as not only does Miss Fisher have a hard time adjusting from her teaching in other counties to that of Maycomb’s. But Burris Ewell only went to school on the “first day o’ the first grade fer three year now”. So education is deemed by some to be unimportant and unnecessary.

On Sunday going to the church was an important role in Maycomb. Calpurnia once had taken Scout and Jem to her church. This ‘coloured’ church is said to be used by ‘Negroes’ worshipping on Sundays and White men gambling on weekdays. This shows the Blacks inferiority as the Whites are allowed in the Black church, but the Blacks were not allowed in the White’s church.

The visit to the church had brought Calpurnia to the centre of attention. Her character serves as the bridge between the two worlds, and the reader has a sense of the double life she leads, splitting her time between the Finch household and the black community. When she goes to church, she speaks in a ‘coloured’ dialect rather than the proper way she speaks in Atticus’ household. Jem had once asked her why. She explains that if she speaks ‘White’ in the church, people would think she was “puttin’ on airs to beat Moses”. This demonstrates how the two worlds are so different, whatever their class or their bigotry.

There were good people who think all humans are the same race. For example Mr Link Deas made a job for Helen Robinson, Tom’s widow and he helps her get out Bob Ewell’s threat. Also Mr Dolphus Raymond had married a coloured woman and had lots of children. This shows that Mr Raymond thinks that coloured people are the same as the White people.

On the court day, White people were sitting on the bright side, but the Blacks sitting in a far corner of the square and when everyone was going into the courthouse, the Blacks have to wait after the White families went in. This again shows inequality between ‘Blacks’ and ‘Whites’.

Although the Tom Robinson’s case was a failure, and the dangers of prejudice and tension still exist in Maycomb, through Atticus testifying, all the jury did think about their racism and prejudice for the first time. So there was a little improvement about the Maycomb people’s prejudice against coloured people and they will always think a little more about the issue from now on!

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