Moral Growth of Scout, Jem & Atticus in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
Exploring Character Growth in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
During the second semester of the 8th-grade literature course, we read the book “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The book had many characters that interacted with each other, and in this paper, I will go through three of the characters, talk about their moral growth, and compare them throughout the book. The three characters I will be talking about are Scout, Atticus, and Jem. Now, let’s begin with Scout.
Scout’s Moral Evolution in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
Now, first, I will talk about Scout. Scout takes on her father’s values a lot at the beginning of the book, as well as forming her own values. One example of Scout taking on her dad’s values is when Cecil makes fun of Atticus and Scout wants to fight, but Atticus tells her not to fight, besides what they say about him. So the next time Cecil provokes her, she decides not to fight him and take the moral high road. Now at the end of the book, when Scout realizes that Boo was never a monster and was the mockingbird symbol she had come to understand. Scout sees that Boo is morally good, and that changes her view of the world to reflect the good around her. “And they chased him,” never could catch him cause “they didn’t know what he looked like, an Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things… Atticus, he was real nice…”
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Jem’s Evolution: From Childhood Fears to Moral Awakening
Now, the second character I will talk about is Jem. At the beginning of the book, Jem is ten years old. At this time, Jem still plays games that are for children with Scout. Also, Jem is fearful of what he doesn’t know and assumes that Boo is dangerous based on rumors that he heard from Caroline. Jem values his pride. Now, one important passage in this book that Atticus tells Jem is, “Shoot all the bluejays you want, but remember it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird.” Later in the book, Jem learns true bravery from Mrs. Dubose. After the whole courthouse situation, Jem goes to Atticus and talks about how unfair the situation was, and Atticus snaps, “He leaped off the bed, grabbed me by the collar and shook me. I never wanna hear about that courthouse again, ever, ever, you hear me?…”
“Atticus said that Jem was trying hard to forget something, but what he was really doing was storing it away for a while until enough time passed.” What I learned from Jem is that he was very scared and didn’t have the courage to do much at the beginning of the book, but when the story progressed, I feel like he became braver and stood up for things that were right and talked against things that were wrong.
Atticus Finch: The Unwavering Pillar of Morality in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
Now, the last character I will talk about is Atticus. In my opinion, Atticus represents morality in To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus is even-handed throughout the book. He is one of the few characters who never rethink his position on an issue. Atticus demonstrates patience, courage, bravery, and maturity. I don’t think Atticus changes much at all over the course of the novel. Throughout the book, he remains morally sound in his thinking and actions, and he does this in every situation, from the courthouse to his home. If there is any change, it is not discernible.
Certainly, he is disheartened by the outcome of Tom Robinson’s trial, but he probably expected this and realized that the social evolution of Maycomb would be a much more gradual process and could not expect a town so steeped in tradition and racist thinking to change over the course of just one trial. He is, maybe, the most forthright and morally justified character in all of American literature. So, as unbelievably good as he is, that’s just the point; he represents ethical justice in totality; he doesn’t need to change.
The Stark Realities Presented in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
Now, my thesis statement for this book is “Racism is a big problem in Maycomb.” This is my thesis statement for a few reasons. The first reason is that the people there are definitely racist, and the neighborhoods are separated into white and black neighborhoods. The next reason this is my thesis statement is that Tom never got a fair trial, and the “n” word is used a lot in this book. Another reason is that the jury had never been in favor of a colored person. Overall, I definitely think this book is on the topic of racism, and it puts you into the perspective of how the world acted against black people, and it is very important to know this stuff. I think it was a good book to read, and I somewhat enjoyed it.
- Lee, H. (1960). To Kill a Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott & Co.
- Smith, J. (2023). Lecture on “Character Development in To Kill a Mockingbird.” 8th-Grade Literature Course.