Essay on To Kill a Mockingbird

Submitted By jrobles29
Words: 1042
Pages: 5

This film takes place during the great depression of the 1930’s in the small Alabama town of Maycomb. The story centers around a lawyer named Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) who defends a black man named Tom Robinson (Brock Peters) who is accused of beating and raping a white girl named Mayella Violet Ewell (Colin Wilcox). Atticus is a widower with two young children named Scout (Mary Badham) and Jem (Philip Alford). He has a housekeeper named Calpurnia (Estelle Evans) who helps him raise the children as he tends to work daily at his law firm. Scout and Jem make friends with a new neighborhood child named Dill Harris (John Megna), who is small for his age and speaks highly of his enhanced intelligence. The children spend their days playing outside, intrigued by their own curiosity; they spend most of their time obsessing over a mysterious neighbor (Boo) who never leaves his home. Their attempts to sneak closer to the neighbor’s house prove unsuccessful as they are shot at by Boo’s father Bob Yule. Boo is a bogeyman to the children until he begins to leave them small gifts in a common tree at the risk of displeasing his abusive father. Midway through the film, Scout and Jem turn their focus onto their father’s decision to represent Tom Robinson. They encounter ridicule and insults from the community because of their father’s role to defend a black man. Scout begins to fight children at school who taunt her because of the trial. The children begin following their father in an attempt to maintain his well-being. They confront an angry mob of armed men trying to go after Atticus for protecting Tom’s jail front. At the trial, Atticus presents his defense using dexterity. He has Ewell (Mayella’s father) write something, showing that he is left-handed. Mayella’s wounds were located on the right side of her face and could only be inflicted by an assailant that is left-handed. Therefore, Tom could not have possibly committed the crime of which he is accused. In the process of presenting Tom's case, Atticus insults and offends Bob Ewell, whose daughter is Tom's accuser. Atticus explains to the jury that the prosecution is relying on the jury’s racism to convict Tom even though there’s no evidence any crime took place. The jury deliberates for hours and returns with a guilty verdict. On the way home from a Halloween pageant, the children hear strange noises. They are attacked by a man and Jem breaks his arm in the struggle. Scout gets a slight glimpse out of her costume to see a stranger carrying Jem back to their house. Once Scout arrives home in a panic, Atticus calls the town physician and sherriff to come investigate. The sheriff arrives and announces that Bob Ewell has been found dead, killed by a knife wound where the children were attacked. As Scout attempts to remember the events that occurred, she realizes that the stranger is Boo Radley (The Boogieman neighbor), and that Boo is the one responsible for killing Ewell, therefore saving her and Jem's lives. Despite Atticus' advice, the sheriff refuses to press charges against Boo. Scout escorts Boo home as a gesture of her gratefulness. The film concludes as Atticus reads her to sleep and waits by Jem's bedside for him to awaken.
The story is told through the eyes of Atticus Finch’s daughter Scout, her brother Jem and friend Dill. The filmmaker uses the children’s innocence to indicate that we were all neutral and innocent as children. This technique helps to demonstrate that racism is a learned behavior. The children and their father are put in real danger as the trial progresses. The tension rises and is exhibited through dramatic scenes like the armed men at the jail threatening Atticus. Suspenseful music is played and the scene is darkened to create a feeling of fear. Also, the children watch the trial from the blacks-only balcony of the courtroom. This is a key visual symbol to show that they begin to see Atticus in a new light.
Since Scout is that…