To Kill A Mockingbird, is a coming of age story set in the sleepy town of Maycomb County during the Great Depression. Over the course of three years, the three main children, Scout, Jem, and Dill go through many experiences that forever change their perspectives on life. They had childish understandings of situations, but once they matured, they were granted with mature ones. When you mature, you aren't just gaining wisdom or losing innocence- you are doing both. However, some people are robbed of their innocence after coming into contact with evil. Killing mockingbirds is like the careless destruction of the helpless and innocent. If mockingbirds only do things for our pleasure, why do we harm them?
The protagonist, Scout Finch, is not a conventional little girl for the 1930s. She is in fact, the exact opposite. Scout is impulsive, nearly rash, blunt, and tomboyish. However, she is fiercely protective of her family, and always has good intentions. After being under the influence of mostly males, Scout prefers masculine activities rather than feminine ones, but she realizes that being a girl has its perks, ".... I began to think there was some skill involved in being a girl." (chapter 11) The dress that Scout wears to Aunt Alexandra's party is a mark of her entrance to womanhood. Scout has a deep respect for her father, and learns compassion and patience from him. After Scout meets Boo Radley in person, Atticus tells her that you shouldn't judge people based on superstitions. "Most people are Scout, when you finally see them." (chapter 30, pg. 376) She feels strong sympathy for Boo Radley, who was an intelligent child, but suffered at the hands of a tyrannically religious father because of a childhood mistake. She matures quite a bit during the novel, but she is not completely immersed into the adult world.
The older brother of Scout, is Jem Finch. Jem has a sense of superiority over Scout, with her being younger and a girl. Jem is courageous, idealistic, independent, and openly sensitive. Jem's original idea of bravery was fearlessness, but Atticus knew otherwise. Atticus uses Mrs. Dubose as an example for Jem, "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. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do." (chapter eleven.) The callous, and crude Miss Dubose might've appeared soulless, but she was still a wise person, despite her personal beliefs. Because of her, Jem began to see that true courage isn't fearlessness, but the ability to continue with something despite being afraid. At the end of the novel, he is still developing his coping abilities. The fact that the jury would convict Tom Robinson, someone so obviously innocent, has rendered Jem speechless.Tom Robinson is one of the mockingbirds in the novel, he was a kind man, victimized by the relentless evils of society. Jem is also a mockingbird in his own way, because the trial took away his idealistic nature and replaced it with bitterness.
Dill, the childhood playmate of Jem and Scout, is imaginative, friendly, and diminutive in terms of size. Dill might appear small, but he has seen more than the other two children, "I'm little,…