Hello, I'm supposed to come up with a question on TKAM and write an essay on it. It's quite important, but the truth is, I have no interest at all in this novel... I want to write either about Scout or Atticus. Can you give me some advice?
There is much to like and admire about this novel! If you can come up with any question at all about the book, that's a rather broad assignment, and broad ones are often more difficult than narrow ones, ironically. :-) Here are some thoughts:
How would the relationship between Scout and Atticus have been different if Scout were a teenager? How does the fact that the narrator is a child impact on the racial issues in the story? Does "the South" itself take on the nature of a character in the novel?
The best advice I can give you is to read the book, all the way through, if you haven't done so yet. You might find parts of it more compelling than you expected.
I hope this helps!
Thanks for your suggestions! I have read the book twice, and I know that it is meaningful and all, but somehow I just don't like it:D. I am more into novels of Jodi Picoult =].
Come to think of it, I suppose I should have more than sufficient to write. However, the book is 300 pages thick and the subject is way too broad, and there is no restriction on how many chapters or anything, so I feel kinda lost. If you read closely to the line, there is always something to talk about in every phrase. I don't really know which details should I look into closely, which not so closely and which to leave behind here:D. I don't want to write it too long, or else all my grammar mistakes will become obvious on the paper.
I think that I'm going to write it based on some certain themes, probably racialism, justice and growing up. I like this suggestion of yours "How does the fact that the narrator is a child impact on the racial issues in the story?". Can I use it for my paper? Does it cover all 3 aspects I want to go through? If not, can you help me phrase the question properly, with all 3 themes?
I was thinking to go briefly throughout the whole book, quoting some important lines e.g.: to show that the innocence of Scout actually won over the evil within the mob [chap 15] etc. What do you think?
I think your ideas are excellent! You are more than welcome to use my question, if you like. :-) I think it would be possible to relate it to all three of your themes. Children will have a very different viewpoint of racism than adults; perhaps a simplistic one, or perhaps one of incomprehension. (It has been some years since I read the book, so I'm not sure exactly how the author described Scout's perception of it.) Scout learned some important and difficult lessons about justice throughout the story. Growing up is difficult enough without having to grapple with these issues, and they leave a lasting impression.
You're off to a good start! I'll be happy to help you with editing as you go along, if you like. It would probably be best just to post it in smaller sections at a time.
I am not familiar with the works of Jodi Picoult ... I'll have to check them out! :-)
Oh, sorry for the rambling about Jodi Picoult =D I tend to talk a lot of irrelevant things when it comes to the things I hate :D hahaha.
I'd love to have you help me along, so I'm going to start writing it out asap. Just that, I was thinking how long should my essay be. Is 1000-word too long or too short? And do you think it would be best if I write in the type of 1/2 paragraph for each theme by points, then evidence and elaboration?
It's always harder when your instructor leaves the assignment wide open. A 1000-word essay will be a little over three pages (there are about 300 words per page if you use one-inch margins and 12-point font). You might want to start with that in mind as a general guideline, but be flexible to making it longer if necessary. I doubt you could make it much shorter and do what you need to do. It sounds like your plan for the theme, evidence and elaboration is a good one. I look forward to reading it!
Oh, and I'm always happy to learn about good authors I wasn't aware of! ;-)
This I wrote to revise for my upcoming test, but I suppose I could use part of it as evidence for the theme of innocence, probably linked to growing up. Anyway, can you give me some suggestions on what I should do with my styles of analysis and so on? Honestly I haven't got a clue on how to write a proper Literature essay, as it being my least favorite subject:(. Often, I feel intimidated by my friends' long essays with big words that I cant understand at all...
Oh, anyway, here comes my essay.
With close reference to the text, show how and why Scout is successful in breaking up the mob.
The fierce, aggressive mob in chapter 15 was not defeated by the courage of Atticus or the shotgun of Mr. Underwood. Instead, they were brought to their senses by the innocence of an eight-year-old girl, Scout Finch.
Initially, Scout showed her courtesy by greeting Mr. Cunningham. Oblivious to the tension building up between the mob and Atticus, Scout thought that Mr. Cunningham could not hear her, while actually Mr. Cunningham was too surprised to hear her talk. With her naïve presumption, Scout made another attempt to talk to him, this time talking about his 'entailment', which she knew well after Atticus's explanation. This time, the farmer was really taken aback; "he seemed uncomfortable; he cleared his throat and looked away". Scout thought that "[her] friendly overture had fallen flat", too innocent to understand the seriousness of the situation.
After that, Scout tried to converse with Mr. Cunningham again, introducing herself, and talked about the time Mr. Cunningham paid Atticus's service by hickory nuts, so as to claim acquaintance. Unintentionally, Scout reminded Mr. Cunningham of the genuine kindness of Atticus when he helped him and did not mind not being paid by money. He then realised that protecting Tom Robinson does not make Atticus a pro-black man. In this moment, Mr. Cunningham could see Atticus's perspective; Atticus was just simply doing his best to help Tom Robinson out of his unfortunate situation, the same attitude he received from this respectable man in the past. Atticus was no longer viewed as a despicable person in his mind, and Mr. Cunningham started to feel bad about his intention of hurting such a good man for their mean purpose.
Very persistently, Scout tried to talk about Mr. Cunningham's son, Walter; her genuine sincerity finally worked as she received "a faint nod" from Mr. Cunningham. Happily, Scout went on talking about her relationship with Walter, how she had beaten him, and how he had been invited to dinner at her place. This conversation, although childish on the surface, was full of innocence of a little girl, trying to talk to a middle-aged adult. Scout again took Mr. Cunningham's thoughts away from his first intention to attack Tom Robinson with the mob, and brought them to his son. Just in this moment, Mr. Cunningham remembered that he had a child, a son to take care of. In this moment, the bridge between himself and Atticus became clearer- both being a father, a bread-winner in the family. Should he have attempted to start a fight, Atticus and he were not the only sufferers; their children were much more vulnerable. Certainly, the presence of the innocent Scout made Mr. Cunningham gradually question his action- what he was going to do and why he was so ready to do it. He was already hesitant to continue the fight.
Till then, Scout had been showing exceptional persistence to make a conversation with Mr. Cunningham. Seeing that he had not interest in his son, Scout switched the subject to entailment once again, hoping to "make him feel at home". Only until then did she realise that she was the only one talking- everybody was staring at her, somebody with mouth half-opened. Atticus, Jem and Dill were looking at her with fascination. A sudden surge of embarrassment washed through her; she tried to explain that she was simply talking to Mr. Cunningham. As an innocent child, Scout had no idea about her success. Nobody expected someone so sincere, so naïve like Scout that night, when then had prepared to attack a man whom they so harshly despised. Besides Mr. Cunningham, the leader of the mob, all the members of the mob were challenged by Scout's innocence. Uncertain of what they were doing, the ferocious, the aggression and the determination were broken into pieces, from the heart of each and every member of the mob.
After he had decided to leave Tom Robinson alone, Mr. Cunningham had a newfound respect in Scout, as he squatted down, looked at Scout at eye level and talked to her politely, unlike his reckless tone with Atticus before Scout appeared. "I'll tell him you said hey, little lady", eight words, so simple, yet filled with respect to an eight-year-old Scout. His "peculiar" action proved that the evils within himself, and the mob, were defeated by the innocence of Scout.
That was 722 words by the way. I think my plan to write 1000 words has just fallen flat:[
You know, some of the most successful writers in the world do not write "literary" novels! :-) There are many types of writing, and many styles to enjoy; one is not necessarily superior to another (despite what "literary types" might say).
You are a very good writer! Try not to compare yourself to others whose interests might be somewhat different from yours. :-)
I think you did an excellent job of following the instructions you were given. The only thing I would suggest is perhaps a little more detail demonstrating what you mean. For example, "Oblivious to the tension building up between the mob and Atticus, Scout thought that Mr. Cunningham could not hear her, while actually Mr. Cunningham was too surprised to hear her talk." - What was Scout saying? Why was he surprised to hear her talk?
Also, here: "Very persistently, Scout tried to talk about Mr. Cunningham's son, Walter; her genuine sincerity finally worked as she received "a faint nod" from Mr. Cunningham" - You could be a little more specific here, perhaps quoting from the text.
Some editing tips:
He then realised that protecting Tom Robinson did not make Atticus a pro-black man. (Stay in the same tense throughout.)
everybody was staring at her, somebody with mouth half-opened. - This does not quite make sense. Who is the somebody? Did you mean "some with mouths half-opened"--meaning several people?
Uncertain of what they were doing, the ferociousness, the aggression and the determination were broken into pieces, from the heart of each and every member of the mob.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks a lot. I suppose I just need to focus more on characterization now... After the test week is over, I suppose I will be able to start on this long assignment. Thanks for helping me throughout this whole thing;)