One can learn many lessons from the novel To Kill A Mockingbird. The theme revolving around the mockingbird represents innocence and how it is wrong to destroy it. The characters of Jem, Atticus, and Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley demonstrate courage in situations that would be easy to shy away from. Many of the characters in this novel grow up in some way, whether it is learning or accepting something new. Three essential themes in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird are innocence (the meaning of the mockingbird), bravery, and growing up. As the main character and narrator, Scout Finch has makes a few connections with events in her life to what her father said, “Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (p.94). The first ‘mockingbird’ in the novel is the town dog, Tim Johnson. The dog has done nothing wrong, nor has he harmed anyone, but Atticus must shoot him anyway. Another mockingbird is Tom Robinson. He is convicted of a crime the evidence proves he did not do. There is virtually no way Tom could have committed the crimes he is accused of, being he had no use of his hand. Mr. Underwood compares the situation to “the senseless slaughter of songbirds” (p.241).
Scout believes that hurting Boo would be like “shootin’ a mockingbird.” After the incident under the tree, where Boo Radley saves the Finch children’s lives, Boo could have been either convicted with murder or congratulated for saving two kids. Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley did not want either; he wanted to be unnoticed, and to be brought attention would be a way of hurting him. In all of these situations, innocence is or could be destroyed by someone. Innocence is something precious that should not be destroyed, like a mockingbird performing melodic tunes.
Courage is a virtue that can be difficult to come across, however in this novel it is plentiful. Jem begins showing his courage when he first touches the Radley house. His bravery progresses when he, Scout, and Dill sneak into the Radley’s backyard in chapter six. Jem then goes back to the house to retrieve his ripped pants. Though he is afraid of the Radley house and all the possibilities of what it may hold, Jem goes anyway, proving himself to be brave. Atticus is a character that possesses much courage. Being assigned a case in which he knew he would lose, Atticus fought till the end for Tom Robinson. His career, social status, and life are threatened because he ‘overachieved’ when defending Tom.
“Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It’s knowing you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see through it no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do” (p.116).
Atticus carried out his job, even though he knew the consequences, because he wanted to stay true to the man he was; for himself and his children. Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley’s bravery is undeniable. He wants to be unnoticed and is content watching Scout and Jem, but when they are in danger, his courage is evident, Boo puts aside his own desires, knowing the consequences, to save what he cares about the most. By doing this he also proves himself to be kind and caring to Scout and Jem. Whether it is for yourself or others, To Kill A Mockingbird shows that bravery can always be beneficial. To grow up means much more than to gain age. The characters in this novel learn important lessons because of events in their lives. After Jem destroys Mrs. Dubose’s flowers, he is forced to read to her every day for several hours. Many