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

Examine the Themes of Innocence and Experience in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Examine the Themes of Innocence and Experience in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Innocence is a time when a person has never done something; it is the first step of the journey from innocence to experience. The second step in this movement is experience and this is what is achieved after a person has done something they have never done before or learns something they have never known before. This theme of growth from innocence to experience occurs many times in To Kill a Mockingbird and is one of the central themes in the first part of the novel, because it shows how Jem and Scout change and mature over a small period of time. Jem, Scout and Dill find ways to use their boundaries, in conjunction with their imaginations to amuse themselves by creating games based on adult behaviour. As the children move through the novel, they use these games to develop from their innocence to experience by defining the realities of their games through the lives of the adults. ...read more.

Middle

When Walter returns with the Finches for lunch, Scout comments on Walter's table manners and I once again scolded but this time by Calpurnia. This is another example of innocence as Scout finds the way Walter eats unusual and was only curious. Prior to these events happening, Scout had never known that it was improper to make fun of or judge a guest of the house. In her innocence, she had never before realized this behavior was inappropriate. However, become experiences as Scout learns never to repeat these actions. In Chaper 5, Scout starts to feel excluded by Jem and Dill. This may be because she is younger or because she is female, but she substitutes their company with Miss Maudie's. On one occasion, it seems she does not fully understand the implications of her conversations with Miss Maudie. She thinks that Miss Maudie has accused Atticus of drinking. Scout also misunderstands Miss Maudie's conversation with Miss Stephanie. ...read more.

Conclusion

They now learn something new about their father and this is an experience where their respect for him increases. This is a crucial time to have gained the children's respect - just before the trial begins. However, the main example of innocence in the novel is also in Chapter 10, when the children are given air rifles for Christmas. Atticus says 'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird'. The mockingbird represents innocence. Like hunters who kill mockingbirds for sport, people kill innocence, or other people who are innocent, without thinking about what they are doing. Atticus stands firm in his defense of innocence and urges his children not to shoot mockingbirds both literally and figuratively. This is also in the title of To Kill a Mockingbird and it has very little literal connection to the plot, but it carries a great deal of symbolic weight. In this story of innocence destroyed by evil, the 'mockingbird' comes to represent the idea of innocence. Thus, to kill a mockingbird is to destroy innocence. ...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. To kill a mocking bird - Chapter 14 Summary onwards.

    They are almost home, near the dark shadow of the tree by the Radleys' house, and are trying to walk faster. It sounds like the person behind them is wearing thick cotton pants. The next time they stop walking, the footsteps behind them suddenly quicken into a run.

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird (Chapter summaries).

    Atticus then asked her whose blanket she had; Scout didn't know what he was talking about but found she was clutching a blanket. Atticus then told them that Boo Radley had put it around her. That day at noon Cal woke them and Atticus said they didn't have to go

  1. Discussion of main themes in "To Kill A Mockingbird".

    To combat this he falsely accuses the innocent Mr. Robinson of rape. If it wasn't for the prejudice view which existed in the south the accusation would had never been brought against Mr. Robinson. These prejudice views in the south created a double standard of justice.

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird

    As for the Fich family, Tom's death is a terrible event which then adds more depressing events to the novel. The title of the novel by Harper Lee, 'To Kill a Mockingbird', has a symbolic effect which is portrayed in the novel.

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Imagery and Symbolism

    For instance, the 366 steps show that there house is isolated and that they have quite a harsh climb when they leave their surroundings on travel into the neighbouring community, so it emphasises the physical but also psychological differences between the two as the Finches aren't racist but their neighbours are.

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird Lit Review

    up for his values and defended Tom Robinson knowing that he would lose. When asked by Scout about the uselessness of fighting the trial for Robinson, Atticus replied, "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win" (76).

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    In this case, they have pride: they do not like to take money they can't pay back, and they continue to live off the land in poverty rather than work for the government (in the WPA, FDR's Work Projects Administration).

  2. A Study of Cultures in 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

    They were obviously poor, but had made the most of what they had. Much like Mayella Ewell, they couldn't help what they were, but they tried to change how they lived, and what kind of people they were. They weren't treated with any respect, but still did their utmost to make something of themselves, despite other people's opinions of them.

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