This essay is over the maturation theme in the book To Kill a Mockingbird. Please give me some feedback and some corrections I can make please!!!! This is due on Tuesday so this is quite urgent! Thanks so much!!Prompt: Select one of the themes that runs throughout the novel. Use the theme as a thesis for a literary analysis paper in which you give evidence to show what the theme is conveying and how this theme is developed through three characters in the novel.
It appears that all children have a sense of innocence during their childhood because they have not gone through any extremities in their lifetime yet. However, every child matures and once they do that sense of innocence is lost. The same can be said for the characters of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird where the whole town of Maycomb, Alabama matures as a community. Harper Lee incorporates the theme of maturity through the maturation of Jem and Scout Finch, and Charles Baker Harris (Dill.)
In the novel, Jem goes from being a childish boy, to being a calm and composed figure much like his father, Atticus Finch. In the novel Jem develops a new view on courage when he learns to do what is right instead of performing a pointless dare to amuse his friends. For example, in chapter one, Dill becomes intrigued by Maycomb's mystery, Boo Radley. Eventually, Dill dares Jem to run up and touch the side of the Radley house to see if Boo Radley will come out. Jem knows that Dill and Scout will make fun of him and call him a chicken if he doesn't follow through with his dare and after all "in all his life he had never declined a dare." (13). This part of the story shows that Jem does not know right from wrong and doesn't understand the needs of other people, all he wants is a cheap laugh from his friends. This also shows what Jem thinks of Boo Radley, he believes that Boo is a monster just like everyone else. However, this view of Boo Radley changes throughout the novel when Jem matures. An example of this is when Jem loses all prejudices towards Boo after Boo started to leave presents in the trees knot-hole for Jem and Scout. Jem appreciates this so much not because of the gifts but because they had done nothing but tease Boo Radley but he still wanted to leave them presents. So, Jem decides to genuinely thank Boo by leaving him a note. This shows his maturity because he begins to show empathy for Boo, especially after Nathan Radley plugs the knot-hole with cement and Jem loses all communication with Boo. "...he's crazy, I reckon, like they say, but Atticus, I swear to God he ain't ever harmed us, he ain't ever hurt us..."(79-80).
In the beginning of the novel, Dill is seen as somewhat of an instigator and a naïve child. For example, Dill is known to heavily exaggerate things, especially when explaining his escape from his father in Meridian. "... having been bound in chains and left to die in the basement (there were basements in Meridian) by his new father, who disliked him, and secretly kept alive on raw field peas by a passing farmer who heard his cries for help (the good man poked a bushel pod by pod through the ventilator), Dill worked himself free by pulling the chains from the wall."..." He traveled with the show all over Mississippi until his infallible sense of direction told him he was in Abbott County, Alabama, just across the river from Maycomb. He walked the rest of the way." (141). Dill only stays in Maycomb during the summers with his aunt Rachel and doesn't know much about the town until Jem and Scout fill him in on some of Maycomb's tales. Even when he is informed of the history and happenings of the town he doesn't seem to fully understand the severity of Maycomb's conflicts. For example, Dill leaves the courtroom of the Tom Robinson trial when the attitude towards the African Americans becomes too much for him. At that moment he begins to realize the world around him and the feelings of other people. "I don't care one speck. It ain't right, somehow it ain't right to do 'em that way. Hasn't anybody got any business talkin' like that-it just makes me sick."(216). these examples show the maturation of Dill from the beginning of the novel to the end. From the start Dill is immature and untrustworthy but in the end he matures into a sympathetic young man that learns empathy.
The final character that displays maturation in the novel is Scout Finch. Scout begins as an innocent, unaware girl who often acts without thinking. For example, on her first day of school she gets into a disagreement with her teacher about Atticus teaching her how to read. Miss Caroline believes that Atticus should not teach her how to do anything anymore, but Scout thinks otherwise. Without thinking about it Scout starts a whole argument with Miss Caroline that ends up getting her into trouble. When Scout goes home she tells Atticus about what the teacher said and Atticus says "You can never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view."(30). By this Atticus means that Scout has to understand what Miss Caroline is thinking about and what she is feeling. This helps Scout turn into much of a more mature young lady. Scout practices this new skill later on in the book when she begins to understand how Boo Radley must feel. For example, one of the last few scenes of the book depict Scout showing that she is no longer afraid of Boo Radley because she knows that he has been their "guardian angel" throughout their time in Maycomb. She shows this by holding his hand and walking him back to his house after the Bob Ewell incedent. After Boo goes inside she stands on his front porch and thinks of what Boo might have felt in the past and she really shows empathy towards him which is something she would not have even though about in the beginning of the book. "I looked behind me. To the left of the brown door was a long shuttered window. I walked to it, stood in front of it, and turned around. In daylight, I thought, you could see to the post office corner"..."Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough."(285).
In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird the whole community of Maycomb County, Alabama matures. However, the three characters of the novel that most clearly matured are Jem and Scout Finch, and Charles Baker Harris (Dill.) All of them seem to find a sense of empathy towards others throughout the novel and that is the biggest example of maturity in the whole book. Harper Lee incorporates her themes very thoroughly throughout the novel and that is what makes the book so widely known because it shows the truth behind life in the early 1900s. "You can never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view."(30).