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Is To Kill A Mockingbird an Optimistic or Pessimistic Novel?

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Introduction

Is To Kill A Mockingbird an Optimistic or Pessimistic Novel? To Kill A Mockingbird involves numerous different points. The way the author has composed her novel has ensured that some parts contain 'optimistic' points and other parts are 'pessimistic.' For example large parts of the book are based on racism. This point alone is thought to be pessimistic however, some parts of it have to be thought of as optimistic- such as Atticus keeping the jury out of the court room longer than any other man, proving that things were changing and there was a chance that the black man would be acquitted. This novel contains other complex views also. Another category that contains many views and prejudicial comments is education. Education can be interpreted in two ways; teaching in school and what the children, and in fact all of the people in the book learn out of school. Scout being dictated to telling her she must not read, is very pessimistic and the education system also appears to the reader as ironic occasionally. Such as when the teacher described Hitler as racist when a similar thing was occurring at home in Alabama. It is clear that Harper Lee had many different views on 'The Deep South' in the 1920s, which would have been the time she was growing up. It is also clear that Harper Lee meant to include these points and give the reader an insight into the trials and tribulations of life in Alabama. ...read more.

Middle

In fact the teacher makes Scout feel as though she has committed a crime and Scout apologizes. Instead of the teacher making Scout feel proud and happy that she has mastered how to read at such a young age, she makes Scout unhappy and regretful. This is a very pessimistic view, as children who are willing to learn should be allowed to do what they want. Another very pessimistic view that appears in the classroom is the ironic point brought forward by the teacher referring to Hitler. The teacher states that 'Over here (America) we don't believe in persecuting anybody'. The reader is aware that this is nonsense as the majority of the book follows the persecuting of blacks. Scout picks up on this however and discusses it with Atticus. This shows that even a child can see the mistakes and problems in the world at the time when the book is set, which is a very optimistic point as it shows that the citizens of Alabama and probably most of the South do not see anything wrong with their actions, however, come of the children do. Education does not only take place inside the classrooms though. Outside the classroom, the children learn some of the most valuable lessons of life. They learn of prejudice, of death and of happiness. For example when Jem went to Tom Robinson's house after Tom had been shot escaping, Jem found out what the reactions of a women in mourning are. ...read more.

Conclusion

Occasionally these coloured folk also begin to retaliate against the whites which again is pessimistic as it shows that the coloured people are beginning to partake in the same racist actions. For example when Lulu told the children to leave the 'coloured' church However, often these coloured people are not prejudiced and are very appreciative when a white person is not racist but helps their causes, such as the giving of great hordes of food to Atticus to thank his for attempting to acquit Tom. Also, some people who were involved with the Robinson case began to pity the coloured people and help them. Mr Dolphis Raymond was always reasonably kind towards coloured people but it seems that he began to help them even more after the court case. For example, when Ewell began to 'stalk' Helen, Tom Robinsons widow. Mr. Raymond threatened Ewell with imprisonment and shortly Ewell stopped. This I feel is very optimistic as it shows that a few people understood the injustice done to Tom, and want to make up for this. Another example of the understanding of the injustice is when Tate has found Ewell dead and Atticus is afraid that Jem may be responsible. Tate tells Mr. Finch abruptly; 'Let the dead bury the dead Mr. Finch, let the dead bury the dead.' This shows that Tae is unwilling to do anything about this possible 'murder' as he knows that Tom Robinson was innocent. This shows regret and is optimistic as Tate feels sorry for the family of Tom. ...read more.

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