“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. ” Throughout history, people have dealt with uncountable number of conflicts between people from different races (ethnicities). But people have to understand, how just like stopping to kill the mockingbirds, people should also end discriminations and killings of innocent lives. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee shows readers the cruelty of discriminations, through a young girl named Jean Louis Finch (Scout).
Now Scout, through involvements with three men, Arthur (Boo) Radley, Atticus Finch and Tom Robinson, goes through a gradual development in character, from an innocent and immature girl, to a person who reaches realization and could understand more about the world she lives in. Arthur’s gradual change in the way he views the world, allows Scout to begin changing, affecting the way she will come to view not only him, but also the society as a whole.
As a young girl, Scout follows Jem (her brother), and their friend Dill, believing that by acting and playing with them, she will be more accepted, and will allow her to feel more comfortable. This leads her to be involved with the unknown world, through the game the three children plays – the Boo Radley’s game. Scout is just an innocent child who does not know enough about the complexity of adult world, but anxious to know the truth of Arthur Radley’s isolation, she follows the boys into playing the dangerous game.
She heard a lot about how Arthur is a crazy lad, who intended to stab his father, and has turned into a “ghost,” (page 12) because he never came out of the house for years. From the way Scout reacts and talks about the Radleys, shows her immaturity, along with her innocence as a child, because she is easily influenced by what the adults say, and creates a lot of things up in her mind making the existence of Boo (Arthur) Radley more mysterious. But as the story progresses, it gradually reveals that Arthur is actually not a crazy person.
In fact, he is nice and warm-hearted, willing to connect with children and help them out of danger. “Boo Radley… he put the blanket around you,” (page 78). At first people does not realize Arthur’s kindness in trying to keep the children from danger, and actually wants to keep them warm and safe. But his small actions gradually touches the Scout, and she comes to realize that she should view the world using her own eyes, and not through what she hears from other people.
Everyone in the society is an individual, who has to make their own decisions, and so people should have their own opinion about the world they are born in. As Scout experiences gradual changes and starts coming in contact with the adult world, her father then helps her throughout conflicts she feels and teaches her more about what it means to grow up. He leads Scout step by step into becoming more mature, so she would be able to stand the pressure their townspeople will be giving them.
Atticus and Scout has a great age difference (fifty years old father and six years old daughter), and this changes the way she views her father. Due to his age, he has already come to be a calm and stable gentleman, who is not playful, leaving Scout in disappointment, because she believes that her father cannot do anything interesting besides reading to her. But this conflict between Atticus and Scout changes gradually, as he reveals his shooting skills, and talks of killing the mockingbird. It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird,” “that was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something,” (page 98). Atticus sees how killing the bird is one of the greatest sins, and reveals the conflict between people from different races, because black people are treated just like the innocent mockingbirds. The talk of the mockingbird is not only used as an example of sin, but it is also used to symbolize injustice, while also foreshadowing the upcoming event of Tom Robinson’s court.
Scout has a hard time everywhere she goes, because not only does the townspeople insult Atticus for defending Tom (even small children such as Cecil Jacob), but her relatives, especially Aunt Alexandra, also criticizes him for disgracing his whole family. But Scout does not give in to all the insults, in fact, she learns to control her fist, trusting in her father and not wanting to cause trouble for him in such an important period of time. She fights internally with herself and with the world around her, constantly thinking about what the right thing to do is, and what it is that she should be doing to help her father.
With more knowledge and understanding of her father, they were able to further deepen their relationships, allowing them to trust in each other more. Now, with Atticus leading Scout through difficulties, she is able to reach realization and make her own conclusions. Sadly, although Scout is only six years old, she already realizes that even law cannot protect everyone, and how unjust things are passed and agreed by the juries, mostly because they (white people) are discriminatory against black people. “It ain’t right, somehow it ain’t right to do ’em that way,” (page 216).
During Tom Robinson’s trial, Scout takes Dill out of the courtroom, because hearing the mean insults Atticus’s opponents says to Tom, he is not able to bear the fear, unfairness and injustice put in forth them. Even small children knows how something cruel is happening, yet, the Ewells still wins trial in the end, which shows mere injustice back at that time. In this scene, Scout concludes how the world is not actually divided into two parts, with people being totally good and just, or totally bad and unfair. She senses how although people are generally good, they also have a darker and unjust side to them.
For Scout, Maycomb is no longer the most comfortable place to live in, because of the discriminatory attitude her townspeople hold toward those that are not white. Being mature does not mean to be discriminative or ignorant of others. However, adults tend to forget the most simple, yet important thing any child knows, treat others the way one wants to be treated. Even a small child like Scout, knows to think about why people are treated as they are, especially the reason why black people are discriminated against, and whether it is fair to do so.
This shows how Scout has come to realize more about the reality of people’s different treatments of those from another race. As she goes through conflicts with people around her, she comes to have a greater view of the world, and at the same time learn to overcome difficulties by herself, contributing to her own growth in character and to maturity. Scout’s idea on Arthur Radley, Atticus Finch, and on Tom Robinson changes through the story, as she develops due to their influences.
Despite what the townspeople tells her, she still chooses to trust in what her father taught her and believes in what she thinks to be the right thing to do (no discrimination). Harper Lee, through this young girl, shows the cruelty of the world, but at the same time, the author also gives readers hope in that there are still justices in the world. Therefore, although there are still those that suffer from discriminations in the world even today, people should continue to find their own righteousness, and try to find a way for everyone to live peacefully.