• 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)

    the two children because she is a family member so she seems to exploit her right of commenting on the children by continually irritating Scout and Atticus over Scout's clothing. Atticus does not worry about what Scout wears. This shows that he does not want his children to be nurtured to satisfy the stereotype of their gender.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Examine the different kinds of prejudice and injustice which you have found in 'To ...

    4 star(s)

    As she is the narrator, we see the account through her eyes. This is particularly beneficial to us as the plot is simple and unadorned. Nevertheless, there are also advantages of the book being written while Lee was an adult and could look back on her adolescence with more awareness and insight into the situations.

  1. How effectively does Harper Lee convey her ideas about prejudice in her novel To ...

    It's slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody." "You aren't really a nigger-lover, then, are you?" "I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody... I'm hard put, sometimes - baby, it's never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name.

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

    I believe that Atticus is doing right. A few pages on in the novel, the children talk about their father being "feeble" and "he didn't do anything. He worked in an office". They then, from Miss Maudie are told their father can make a person will air tight, that he is the best chequer player in town and he can play a Jew's harp.

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    Mrs. Dubose won, because she died beholden to nothing. Atticus calls her "the bravest woman I ever knew." Analysis Again, the events of this chapter help to underscore the severe racial intolerance of many of the townspeople, and the extreme ostracizing that the Finches underwent in the name of maintaining good conscience.

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

    Similarly, later on in the book, although there was no proof of Tom Robinson raping Mayella, because he is black, he is found guilty. This reflects the opinions of most of the people in Maycomb, with exception however of Atticus Finch; Jem and Scouts father.

  1. To Kill A Mocking Bird : Harper Lee - A chapter analysis.

    Jem and Scout's admiration of their father is restored but Atticus brushes off the incident, almost as if he wishes his children had not witnessed it. Clearly, Atticus does not want his children, especially Jem, to grow up thinking that manhood is measured by one's ability to use a gun.

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

    School is hard for the Finch children: their peers are generally somewhat cold toward them, as if their parents had instructed them to be civil but not outwardly friendly. One day Scout's class gets into a discussion about Hitler and the persecution of the Jews.

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