Examples Of Bildungsroman In To Kill A Mockingbird

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Bildungsroman In To Kill A Mockingbird
Growing up is an inevitable part of life. Every individual matures in their own way, but eventually each person learns a valuable lesson that changes their demeanor, making them think and act like an adult. In Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, this concept is imperative to the overall plot and allows the author of the novel to write a realistic bildungsroman. In the novel, Lee describes Scout Finch, a young girl living in the south during the 1930s. She and her brother, Jem, slowly mature over the course of the book, and begin to show the qualities of a mature adult by the end of the novel. In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee develops the theme that every individual will mature by being exposed
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She and her brother, Jem, spend the majority of the book investigating who Arthur “Boo” Radley is, and at the end, Scout is able to meet him for herself. Over the course of the book, her opinions of Boo drastically change. Scout initially mentions that she “was fairly sure Boo Radley was inside that house, but couldn’t prove it, and felt it best to keep my mouth shut or I would be accused of believing in Hot Steams, phenomena I was immune to in the daytime.” (Lee 5). Scout is curious to find out if Boo is still alive, but fails to actually confirm her suspicions. She knows that she is too afraid to prove her speculations, and feels that it would be best to keep quiet. Mentioning her theory about Boo Radley would cause the gossiping residents of Maycomb to speculate that she is simply believing in someone who just will not make it to heaven. In a town where religion is highly valued, this could be detrimental to her and her family’s reputation. However, by the end of the novel, Scout describes Boo in an entirely different light. She quickly becomes unafraid of Boo, but sees him as a sign of safety and comfort. Boo is a symbol of her childhood, something important to her. Scout describes Boo as a gentleman, and does not stop to consider what her neighbors will think. According to Scout, “If Miss Stephanie Crawford was watching from her upstairs window, she would see …show more content…
She evidently looks up to him, due to the fact that Jem is Scout’s older brother, after all. Scout values Jem’s confidence and knows that he is a great leader, making him seem like a hero. Throughout the novel, he matures slowly, but after one event in particular, it is very clear that he has become a young adult. After hearing Mrs. Dubose speak about their father in such a rude and inconsiderate way, Jem has an outburst, causing him to run up to Mrs. Dubose’s house and knock her flowers down. “He did not begin to calm down until he had cut the tops off every camellia bush Mrs. Dubose owned, until the ground was littered with green buds and leaves.” (106). Out of pure anger for Mrs. Dubose’s words, Jem acted inconsiderately himself and destroyed one of her prized possessions. Atticus finds out, which causes Jem to be punished. He is asked by Mrs. Dubose to read to her each day. Atticus enforces her request, and Jem obliges. Jem reads to Mrs. Dubose, and perseveres through her fits. Once Jem completes the task, he learns that Mrs. Dubose has passed away. Atticus informs him that “ I wanted you to see something about her—I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.” (116) Atticus teaches Jem this lesson in order to show him how one can be brave simply by struggling with something, as Mrs. Dubose was. Atticus wanted to prepare Jem for the real