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Both "Great Expectations" and "To Kill A Mocking bird" Are novels about childhood. Discuss the similarities and differences between the two.

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Introduction

Both "Great Expectations" and "To Kill A Mocking bird" Are novels about childhood. Discuss the similarities and differences between the two. Regardless of the two novels differences in location and time "Great Expectations" and "To Kill A Mockingbird" have many connections in their storylines. The two texts are bildungsroman in their style. This means that the two stories are written from the perspective of an adult looking back on their childhood. The storyline of "To Kill A Mockingbird" confronts many prejudicial issues of the time (mid 1930s) and setting (Maycomb County, Alabama). The main 'evil' confronted in the novel is racism, with the trial of Tom Robinson. Tom is a young black man charged with the rape of a white woman, Mayella Ewell. Even though Atticus Finch proves Mr. Robinson's innocence in court, the conscience of the town, steeped in injustice, violence and hypocrisy, finds him guilty of a crime he could not have committed. "Great Expectations" is the story of Philip Pirrip 'Pip' and follows his life from the age of seven to twenty-four. Pip helps a convict, Magwitch, to escape the law by supplying him with "a file and wittles", this later proves gainful because Pip is rewarded with his dream, to become hierarchy and win the heart of Estella, but Miss Havisham wishes her to break his heart. ...read more.

Middle

With the differences there are also similarities. The texts both introduce a figure of fear. In "Great Expectations" this person is Magwitch and in "To Kill A Mockingbird" he is Boo Radley. Both these characters at first seem frightening but in the end they save the narrative characters in some way. Magwitch assists Pip in a financial sense and Boo Radley physically aids Scout. These helpings out come about as a reward for earlier actions. Pip helps Magwitch escape with the fetching of a file and Scout defends Boo's actions and visits him in the period of the trial. In both novels the writer puts the readers ethical standings to the test. The law is a large part of "To Kill A Mockingbird" and Pip becomes a lawyer in "Great Expectations". In both texts the law differs from the typical social views of the time. In both novels the reader is persuaded to feel that the law is too harsh on both Magwitch and Tom Robinson. Magwitch is banned from the country and because he returns, is sentenced to death despite the fact that he has achieved lawful success. Mrs Dubose and Miss Havisham play a similar role in both books. They are both spiteful to the leading characters. ...read more.

Conclusion

Toward the end of the book, Ewell carries out a vendetta against Atticus and Tom's widow. At the climax of the book someone follows and attacks Jem and Scout, braking Jem's arm. When everything calms down Bob Ewell is found "lyin' on the ground... With a kitchen knife stuck up under his ribs." Again there is a question as to whether he fell on the knife or whether he was stabbed. There is a clear character development of the two story-telling characters. Pip learns, at the end of the book, that social status is not everything, but being true to oneself is the true way to happiness. Scout is brought up by Atticus to see that racial prejudices are immoral and ethnic minorities should not be segregated from the rest of society. Scout also matures in her attitude and dress-sense. She is, at the beginning of the book, a tomboy, but grows to become a lady. As that lady she tells the story of her childhood. Victorian readers of "Great Expectations" would have had their views of the class 'system' put on trial. They would have seen how a young boy struggles from extreme poverty to become a gentleman. They would have seen the restrictions put in place, by people like themselves, on the poorer classes. The two books reach a similar conclusion, the recognition that prejudicial attitudes towards either race or social status are unjustified. ...read more.

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