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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD - Life's a Cruel Cruel World

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD - Life's a Cruel Cruel World

Schools tend to have cliques, small groups of narrow-minded people who criticize others. These teens in cliques parallel adults in today's society. They prey on those who believe in different things, come from different backgrounds, and have different morals and values. In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, three characters, Boo Radley, Tom Robinson, and Atticus Finch, all resemble mockingbirds, in that people persecute them for no reason.

The people of Maycomb County victimize the innocent Boo Radley. His mysterious life interests the Finch children, Jem and Scout, and their friend Dill. They imagine Boo as a drooling, savage, six-and-a-half foot beast with a long jagged scar on his face, yellow teeth, and bulging eyes. They suspect that he peers into people's windows at night to stalk them and he may try to kill them. The real Boo, however, possesses a kind soul and a gentle heart. He manages to find ways to communicate in a positive and playful way with Jem, Scout, and Dill, but everyone suspects Boo of enigmatic crimes when "once the town was terrorized and…people still looked to the Radley Place, unwilling to discard their initial suspicions" (9). The townspeople do not give Boo a chance; they rather make rash conclusions. His seclusion from the town instantly opens him up to ridicule and gossip. Scout learns to judge him and others by their actions, not by the town gossip.

Tom Robinson, a Negro, represents another mockingbird. He lives a life of simplicity beyond the town dump, and attends the same church as the Finch family cook, Calpurnia. Tom regularly assists people in need, especially Mayella Ewell, but he finds himself punished for it. Mayella, a white woman, accuses Tom of rape and abuse, and her father Bob takes this matter to court and uses subterfuge in his testimony. During the trial Link Deas, Tom's former employer, announces, "That boy worked for me eight years an' I aint had a speck o' trouble outta him" (195). Link tries to stand up for Tom because he instinctively knows Tom would never rape anyone, especially a white woman. Because of Link's experience with Tom, he steadfastly believes in Tom's innocence. However the prejudice that exists in Maycomb influences the jury to convict Tom of rape, leaving him and his attorney Atticus Finch disappointed but not surprised.

Atticus, a very respected lawyer, defends...

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