Essay on English Tkm

Submitted By silverskittles
Words: 934
Pages: 4

Eugene Sim
Ms. Britton
English 9 Honors
25 October 2014
Missing: Innocence
Innocence is like a wall that separates a person from seeking the other side which is reality in To Kill a Mockingbird. Innocence is built like a wall to hide the harshness of the world and when the wall is wrecked, the person is able to see the reality on the other side of the wall. A traumatic event like Tom Robinson’s case is needed to crush the wall that exists. Jem experienced this when his innocence was built around him like a cocoon and then shattered at the trial when Bob Ewell wasn’t found guilty. Harper Lee’s novel is about how in the 1930’s, the racist communities cause these traumatic events to occur which can drastically change one’s life. Jem’s experiences as a child is used to show that major events in one’s life can cause their perspective to change which may lead to a loss of their innocence. In the beginning of the novel, Jem is portrayed as an innocent child who is immature. He believes the exaggerated rumors of Boo Radley and even plays a game pretending to be Boo Radley with his friend Dill, and his sister, Scout. The rumors in Maycomb about Boo Radley are used to show how Jem will believe anything even though they are clearly false. This portrays his innocence because it shows that he believes the people of Maycomb are always telling the truth. The play was a “melancholy little drama, woven from bits and scraps of gossip and neighborhood legend’ (52). Jem believes in the rumors and judges the Radley’s based on the rumors because the societies in the 1930’s were prejudice. Even in the “play” Mrs. Radley is perceived as a character who has almost no identity. “She also lost most of her teeth, her hair, and her right forefinger … she sat in the living room and cried most of the time…” (52). Jem’s innocence gets in his way and he makes faulty generalizations about the Radleys and believes the stories the town spreads around. Boo is described as a “malevolent phantom” but his acts of kindness such as giving the children gifts show that the rumors are incorrect. Jem begins to see the acts of kindness and starts to mature and this activates a change in Jem’s perspective of the world. In chapter eleven, Jem begins to question and lose his innocence when he encounters Mrs. Dubose. Mrs. Dubose is racist, old and rude but she is courageous. Jem is called upon by Atticus to do work for Mrs. Dubose because Jem destroyed her garden in anger when she called Atticus a “nigger-lover”. Jem does not understand why Atticus would do this to him after Mrs. Dubose just insulted him. Mrs. Dubose is not supportive of Atticus’ effort to fight for Tom Robinson. Jem is forced to read to her every night for months. After her death, Jem realizes that she was a morphine drug addict and she was a role model for Atticus. “I wanted you to see something about her. I wanted you to see what real courage is… It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what” (149). After his witness to Mrs. Dubose’s addiction battle, Jem’s perspective drastically changes. He experiences true courage described by Atticus. Jem’s maturity continues to develop and his innocence is questioned, but he recognizes that life is more complicated than what it seems like on the surface. Even though Mrs. Dubose was impolite, impatient, racist and critical, she was “the bravest person I ever knew” (149), as seen