Sunday, June 12, 2011

Final Reponse, REVISED: To Kill A Mockingbird

   To come of age is a phrase that can be defined by many different things. It can be the day you turn a certain age, or perhaps the day that you encounter a traumatic event, or when you begin to rebel. However, I believe that the time that you truly begin to grow up is when you go from having an immature response to the people and world around you to a mature one. Jem and Scout's journey to coming of age in the book "To Kill a Mocking Bird" by Harper Lee illustrates this idea. The way they interact with their world and others around them in the beginning of the book compared to the end shows that they have both grown to become mature.
    For example, the way they treated "Boo" Radley in the beginning of the book versus the way they did in the end shows how they matured. At the start, Jem, Scout, and their good friend Dill were all deathly afraid of their neighbor Arthur "Boo" Radley. After hearing stories from the neighborhood gossips that he was an insane old man who watched people when they slept, they let their imaginations run away from them and made up crazy stories about who they thought he was. They would dare each other to run up to his house and ring the doorbell to see if they could catch a glimpse of him, or play games where they acted out scenes involving him. They all lived fearing him, and when they would pass his house they would sometimes hold their breath. However, after Boo saves Jem and Scout from Bob Ewell (who attacked the two children one night out of revenge to their father) they realize that they had made a mistake. In the last section of the book, Scout try's to imagen life from Boo's perspective, and feels guilty that they had not shown him more kindness, stating 'Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good look pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We never put back in the tree what we took out of it. It made me sad'.  This shows how she and Jem matured from the beginning to the end.
   Another way that shows how the two children matured is how their relationship with their father changes. Mid-way through the book, the two children begin to question their father (Atticus) and their respect for him, as they could not find any special skill that he had. They thought that he 'didn't do anything. He worked in an office and could't drive a truck'.When Miss Maudie tells them that he was the "longest shot" (could shoot the farthest) in all of Maycomb County, they grew proud of their father again. However, their respect for their father was only over a superficial skill that society applauded, so they did too. At the end of the book, when Atticus attempts to bring justice to a court case between a woman who accuses a black man of rape, they look past the views of others and grow to have true respect for their father. While Atticus was being ridiculed for defending a black man, the two children defied the towns persuasions to go against him and stood by their father. This shows that they grew to have their own ideas, showing great maturity.
  The last way in which the children go from immature to mature is how their feelings about "colored folk" changes. In the beginning of the book, Scout and Jem follow the ideas of the people around them, that people who are black are lesser then themselves. Scout sees Caluprina as a lesser educated person becuase she is black and the two children are wary of colored people in general. However, as they grow older, they begin to see that black people are not any different from themselves, and they deserve the same amount of respect.
  The way Jem and Scout's views gradually matured from when they were younger shows how they came of age.

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