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A comparison of how childhood is represented in “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens and “To kill a mocking-bird” by Harper Lee.

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Introduction

A comparison of how childhood is represented in "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens and "To kill a mocking-bird" by Harper Lee. Although written almost 100 years apart there are several similarities between the two books in the way which childhood is portrayed there are, however, many major differences as well. To kill a mocking-bird is based in the 1940s in a town called Maycomb, situated in Alabama. The story is set around a Family called the 'Finch's'. Atticus Finch who works in the law courts in Maycomb town. Jem Finch, son of Atticus and brother to Scout, who is the narrator of the story. Scout narrates the story as though she is looking back upon her life. The main theme to the book is racial discrimination and how people are judged upon the way they act. Atticus is defending a man called Tom Robinson who is being accused of the raping of Mayella Ewell; through out the novel Atticus is trying to help Tom Robinson against the discrimination from practically every non-Negro in the county. ...read more.

Middle

Atticus always took her side" as though Cal treated her as if Scout was her own. To Pip Joe is like his substitute parent, but still his best friend, "Best friends forever Pip". In both books the children deal with the meeting of characters who they don't know but affect their lives in a major way, for example Boo Radley and Miss Havisham who are recluses to the book change the way the children see certain aspects of life. Boo Radley makes Scout realise that you cant prejudge someone by what people have said, because unless you have seen for yourself then who are you to judge. In both novels the aspect of law and criminals comes about, and affects the characters a great deal. Magwitch starts off in the tale as someone with no real meaning, he is just an escaped convict that Pip helps out. Towards the end of the story Magwitch has seen to change Pip's life drastically, what with giving Pip the fortune and being the father of Estella who Pip is in love with. ...read more.

Conclusion

Pip on the other hand is very isolated and although he has Joe, he doesn't understand pips feelings and emotions, and also the way he feels for Estella. Atticus feels that childhood is not to be wasted and so is anxious to prolong his children's childhood and protect them for as long as possible. Pip is expected to work from a young age and so his childhood was very short. Pip feels that he doesn't have any real friends he has Biddy and yet they are still not very close. Scout and Jem have each other and they also have Dill. Both novels are interesting and enjoyable to read, they are both about childhood and yet are so different in how the childhoods are portrayed. To kill a mocking-bird shows that childhood is a time of freedom and imagination, and although the story ends in tragedy is an impression of how life will continue much as before after the events in the book. Great expectations is the opposite to this and shows that childhood is a time of loneliness and fear, and how the events in your childhood can effect you for many years afterwards. ...read more.

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