• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A short essay on childhood in Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

A short essay on childhood in Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" Within chapters one to eight in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Harper Lee truly pinpoints the essence of childhood between Scout and her ubiquitous childhood friends, Jem and Dill. Scout's (Jean Louise Finch) demeanour is that of a rebellious tomboy with a fierce attitude and an enquiring nature. She is extremely intelligent judging from the fact that she learned to read before starting school. However, her role as a girl does not seem to fit within Maycomb's prudish society as Atticus allows her to go round dressed in overalls and playing outside with the boys. Scout's freedom to be able to dress as she likes and act as children are intended to rather than being restricted to activities a "girl should do" has given her an open-mind and a free spirit which are some of the qualities she possesses. Her older brother Jem, (Jeremy Finch) on the other hand, possesses a more reserved attitude and is Scout's constant guide and support. ...read more.

Middle

Dubose. The boredom shrouding Maycomb leads the children to amuse themselves in other ways as they occupy bored and lazy summer days with imaginative games. Their attention eventually shifts to the Radley house and the ambiguous "Boo" Radley. Although Boo poses no harm to anyone an air of menace is still associated with Boo and the slanderous gossip of the neighbourhood ladies would surely have cultivated their impression of Arthur Radley as the "bogeyman" figure that every child at some stage fears the most. The journey taken by a child into the wide world involves a great deal of learning about life itself and as yet, the children have not realised that Boo Radley may be just as ordinary as any other person within the neighbourhood but their prejudice towards him is utterly na�ve. The torrent of emotional abuse that Arthur "Boo" Radley must have undergone is unimaginable to the children and their prying natures and superstitions linked to Boo are merely seen by them as curious and rather risky fun. ...read more.

Conclusion

Apart from the mainly blissful childhood experienced by Jem and Scout there is another childhood in Maycomb; one surrounded by hardship and poverty, as experienced by children such as the Cunninghams and Ewells. These youngsters have been exposed to the harshness of life at such an early age that even school poses no excitement or ambition within them. Although the Finches are relatively well-off compared to most other families within the area, the social class of Maycomb society does not seem to be an issue with the Finch children as Jem invites Walter Cunningham round for dinner. Their Aunt Alexandra would think it ghastly to invite people of such low class but Jem's act shows truly shows his friendship and kindness towards other children regardless of how poor they are. Later on in the play when the children realise just how cruel the course of "justice" can be, with the conviction of Tom, their original innocence and naivety captured perfectly alters into a more mature perspective. They avoid being swept into the tragedy of Maycomb's ignorant 'disease' and have the ability to see the goodness in people no matter who they are. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Harper Lee section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Harper Lee essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    To Kill a Mockingbird Essay

    4 star(s)

    This reflects Atticus' ethics again as it shows he does not judge people by what they wear as he lets his daughter wear what she wants. Finally, Atticus is shown by Harper Lee not be judgemental. Maycomb is a town where people can be judged by their names, "He is a Cunningham" and by their colour.

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird (Chapter summaries).

    Later in the day Atticus arrived home and told Cal to come with him to see Helen Robinson because Tom was dead. He said he had attempted to run away but the guards had shot him. They said that if he had two good arms then he would have been able to get away.

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    Chapter 13 Summary Aunt Alexandra has decided that it would be best for the family if she stays with them for "a while," which worries Scout even though she knows there's nothing to be done about it. Aunt Alexandra establishes herself in the neighborhood and continues to pester the children about what they should and shouldn't do.

  2. What do we learn about Maycomb society in Harper Lee's; To Kill a Mockingbird?

    The Blacks were not even respected enough to have their own Church: "Negroes worshipped in it on Sundays and white men gambled in it on weekdays15". This illustrates the terrible treatment of the Blacks in Maycomb, and the utter disrespect for the Black's place of worship; especially when the Blacks of Maycomb take their worship very seriously.

  1. Compare and contrast how the role of childhood is presented in the novels To ...

    (To Kill a Mocking Bird, P.35) (A point to note is that it is easier for Atticus to place importance on a good standard of education than it is for the MacTeers or the Breedloves, because he has been able to provide Scout and Jem their basic needs.)

  2. English essay on 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.

    Scout should be playing with small stoves and tea sets, not climbing trees; Alexandra believes scout should "be a ray of sunshine". Scouts cousin, Francis enjoys getting her into trouble. He gets away with anything and blames it all on scout.

  1. To kill a mocking bird - Chapter 14 Summary onwards.

    Ewell won't really take action on his threats. Analysis Maycomb's reaction to the news of Tom's death demonstrates how willingly they will interpret the actions of one black person negatively in order for it to feed into their existing negative feelings for all black people.

  2. How are Prejudice and Hypocrisy explored in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird? Notes ...

    This symoblises the strength of the White Community and the weakness of the Black Community. * ?Maycomb was interested by the news of Tom?s death for perhaps two days? Prejudice in the white Community. They do not value the life of a black person, treats it as unimportant.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work