To Kill a Mockingbird Essay

Submitted By foolonthehill
Words: 1143
Pages: 5

It is important that throughout our lives we learn from other people that we may encounter. Harper Lee illustrates this valuable message in her novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ through the main character Jean-Louise (Scout) Finch and the different people she interacts with. Three particular people whom Scout learns from include: Mrs Dubose, her neighbour; Boo Radley, another neighbour and finally Atticus, her father.
Mrs Dubose was a cantankerous old lady confined to a wheelchair. Every time Scout would pass her house, Mrs Dubose would be sitting on her front porch shouting rude and vulgar remarks towards Scout. “If I (Scout) said as sunnily as I could, ‘Hey, Mrs Dubose,’ I would receive for an answer, ‘Don’t you say hey to me, ugly girl! You say good afternoon, Mrs Dubose!’” This showed what an unpleasant and nasty lady Mrs Dubose was, revealing exactly why Scout hated her. One day, after Jem had destroyed Mrs Dubose’s well grown garden after she insulted his father, Jem was ordered by Atticus to make up for his actions and do whatever Mrs Dubose tells him to do; he must clean up Mrs Dubose’s garden and read to her every day. A month after Scout had last seen Mrs Dubose, Atticus announced that she had died. Atticus also reveals that the she was a morphine addict and that she was determined to kick the addiction before she passes, explaining why Jem would have had to read to her regardless: so Mrs Dubose would be distracted from taking morphine. Scout understands now that her ruthless attitude was just a side effect of her battle with morphine addiction. Through Mrs Dubose, Scout learns what real courage and inner strength is. Mrs Dubose was brave enough to get rid of her addiction to morphine even though she knew of the fits and discomfort it would bring her. Mrs Dubose was driven to die with a last shred of dignity. Harper Lee illustrated that one shouldn’t judge without knowing the full story, as well as what true courage is in life. “You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs Dubose won, all 98 pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.”
“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” This line was told by Atticus to Scout, and it concerns another person Scout learns an important life lesson from: Boo Radley. At the start of the book there are several rumours about Boo Radley, most however were later revealed to Scout as made up and lies. The rumours include: he ate raw squirrels and cats, he roams Maycomb at night and that he once stabbed his father in the leg with scissors. This leads to the children imagining him as a tall ugly circus freak. However, it is only after Boo saves Scout’s brother’s life that Scout realises that Boo is actually just a harmless, innocent and shy man. In fact he had been looking over Scout and Jem, leaving presents for them, watching them grow up. Boo looked out for Scout as if he she were his own daughter despite his probable knowledge of the way she mocked and tormented him. When she was in trouble, having been attacked by Bob Ewell, Boo came to the rescue and killed Bob before he could harm her any further. After Miss Maudie’s house had caught fire and Scout was standing out in the cold night, Boo quietly wrapped a blanket around her to keep her warm. Finally, Scout realises that Boo is a mockingbird; he does no harm whatsoever and only does things for the benefit of other people, therefore there is no justification in harming those who are harmless. Harper Lee illustrates that “you never really know a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around it.” Scout finally climbed into his skin and walked around, realising that he really was just a good man.
Atticus is Scout’s father. He is the ultimate symbol of morality. Throughout the book, Atticus uses his infinite wisdom to