Literary Criticism
(Mockingbird)
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== Headline text ==
 
by Harper Lee
 
by Harper Lee
   
Harper Lee's only novel, ''To Kill a Mockingbird'' has long been praised as a societal commentary on racism in the South. It is also a good example of a coming-of-age novel and contains examples of local color.
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Harper Lee's kdmdnly novel, ''To Kill a Mockingbird'' has long been praised as a societal commentary on racism in the South. It is also a good example of a coming-of-age novel and contains examples of local color.
   
 
== ''To Kill a Mockingbird'' as a coming-of-age novel ==
 
== ''To Kill a Mockingbird'' as a coming-of-age novel ==

Revision as of 01:13, 27 March 2008

Headline text

by Harper Lee

Harper Lee's kdmdnly novel, To Kill a Mockingbird has long been praised as a societal commentary on racism in the South. It is also a good example of a coming-of-age novel and contains examples of local color.

To Kill a Mockingbird as a coming-of-age novel

by User:LockeShocke

“It’s time you started being a girl and acting right!” Jem said to Scout (page 115). In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, several themes are shown through the repetition of situations, phrases, or events. One of the most predominant themes is coming of age. The author, Harper Lee, portrays Scout and Jem’s maturing with many events. Lee shows the coming of age of Jem and Scout through events in the story, mature dialogue and dialogue portraying stages of development to depict Scout and Jem’s maturation.

In the beginning of the story, Scout asks her uncle to “pass the damn ham, please" (page 77). This both shows superfluous swearing and good manners (quite the juxtaposition). Children go through a stage around their early teens where they “cuss fluently.” Also, another instance occurs when Scout says, “Francis, what the hell do you mean? (page 83)” A short while later, Atticus is overheard say “bad language is a stage that all children go though,” which seems to tie this all together (page 87).

Whether they know it or not, the two children make more and more intelligent and mature comments as the story progresses. For example, Jem says, “I reckon if he [Atticus] wanted us to know, he’d ‘a told us..." (page 98). That is a very mature comment, and it demonstrates how Jem is growing up and maturing in mind. Among other things, it also shows patience that Jem didn’t run up and ask Atticus along with Scout. Later, Scout says “one must lie” in certain situations (page 128). In general, one of the things that makes an adult an adult [other that age of course] is learning and perfecting when to use situation ethics.

When Scout beats up her cousin Francis on page 91, it’s half maturity and half family pride. She is defending Atticus when Francis repeatedly calls him "nigger lover”. When his constant taunting compounds that, Scout just can’t take it anymore, “splits her knuckle to the bone on his front teeth” and has to be pried off him by her Uncle to be stopped. Beating someone up is coming of age as an overt loss of innocence.

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, the comings of age of Jem and Scout are graphically portrayed many ways, including events, maturing dialogue and stages of childhood development.