Life Lessons Passed Through Generations Essay

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Life Lessons Passed Through Generations
To Kill a Mockingbird By: Harper Lee

What does it mean to sin? A sin is defined as an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law. So then what is a sin? Well, according to Atticus Finch, it's a sin to kill a mockingbird (Lee 94). Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird was first published in 1960. The well known Atticus Finch has some important values to pass down to his children. He teaches Jem and Scout the importance of being honest and being courageous. He teaches them that it's a sin to kill a mockingbird. Atticus teaches his kids that before you can judge someone you have to crawl into their skin and walk around in it.
Atticus teaches Jem and Scout the importance of having courage and being honest. One example from the novel was when Atticus made Jem read to Mrs. Dubose after he had ruined her garden with Scout's new baton. Mrs. Dubose had called Atticus a negro-lover for defending Tom Robinson, an African-American man. Jem and Scout are afraid of Mrs. Dubose. She is a sick woman who knows she is going to die, but wants to die clean. We learn that because she is recovering from using Methamphetamine(a drugs used to lessen the pain from her illness), and so she is going through withdrawal. Although the fact that she is sick and going through withdrawal do not excuse her racism towards Tom, or racist words towards Atticus in front of Jem and Scout does not excuse her actions, it does give her a foot to stand on as to why she acts the way she does. With the courage it took for these two young children to go to this dying woman’s house every day to read to her, we learn that she acts the way she does for a reason. Another time that Atticus shows the importance of courage is when he goes up against Bob Ewell in court defending Tom Robinson in 1935. In this act he says he couldn't live with himself or tell his kids what to do if he didn't defend Tom. This demonstrates the idea that doing what you believe is the right thing, is more important than doing what everyone thinks. A third example of Atticus teaching that it's important to be honest is when he thinks that Jem has stabbed Bob Ewell resulting in his death. His words, "Nobody's hushing this up. I don't live that way" (276) shows how much owning up to your own actions means to Atticus. To Atticus' surprise, Heck Tate, the sherriff in Maycomb knows the truth behind Bob's death. Prior to his death he attacked Jem and Scout at night, when they were the most defensless. Boo Radley, an isolated neighbor, took it upon himself to stab Bob with his Bob's knife in defense of the children. Heck decided that it would be best to say that Bob had fallen onto his knife in a drunken stupor. The disguised truth troubles Atticus because it goes against his personal beliefs of being honest. Heck's conclusion on Bob's death does make Atticus stop pushing for Jem to confess to a crime he didn't commit. The novel-titled lesson Atticus teaches to his kids is that it's a sin to kill a mockingbird. It all started when Jem and Scout are practicing shooting with their new air rifles, since Atticus refused to teach them. "I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but i know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember, it's a sin to kill a mockingbird", is what Atticus told them. Miss Maudie, their neighbor, agreed with Atticus entirely. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing, but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing, but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" (94). What Jem learned from this is shown later in the novel when Jem tells Scout not to kill the roly-poly. Roly-polies are little insects that don't harm anyone, and sinc ethey're harmless, Jem thinks it would be wrong to kill them (241). Scout is still very young, so she