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Hannah Grace Hoover

Miss Akers

English 10

30 August 2017

Imagine standing in a crowded room with hundreds of light skinned people and realizing

someone is being treated like dirt because they look different. In To Kill a Mockingbird, two

different characters feel different. The novel by Harper Lee takes place in the 1930s when

prejudice and discrimination were a huge part of the United States. The main character, Scout,

discovers what society is really like while her dad, Atticus, is working on a case with a black

man in Maycomb County. Tom Robinson and Boo Radley are two characters that are known as

scary monsters, but once the readers get to know the back stories, they realize that they are both

ordinary people and should be treated like everyone else. Harper Lee teaches the readers that

things are not always as they seem and that kindness is always the answer by introducing two

characters, named Tom and Boo, who feel left out of their own community because of actions

they never committed.

Tom Robinson and Boo Radley are two characters that are stereotyped into mean, vicious

men, but in reality they are ordinary people. The citizens of Maycomb pass stories and rumors

around town about Boo Radley, and soon the people start to believe everything they hear. An

example is, Boo drove the scissors into his parents leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his

pants, and resumed his activities (13). Scout and Jem believe this crazy tale despite the fact that

theyve never met Boo. When Tom is accused of raping a woman named Mayella Ewell,

everyone assumes he did it because he is a black man. Most of the accusers have never met Tom,
so they cannot assume he raped Mayella without any evidence. Later in the book, we find out

that Tom did not rape Mayella and that everyone jumped to conclusions. Later in the novel the

readers realize that Toms left arm is paralyzed and useless. The book says, His left arm was

fully twelve inches shorter than his right, and hung dead by his side (248). Mayella was hit by a

left handed man and Tom cannot even use his left arm. Boo Radley and Tom Robinson were

both characterized as evil people but in reality, they were just normal men trying to live life.

Harper Lee teaches the readers that no one should jump to conclusions and base people off of

ridiculous stories they hear.

Kindness and patience are a big part of To Kill a Mockingbird because throughout Jem

and Scouts lives, Atticus teaches them to spread kindness and be patient with everyone. For

instance, when Jem ruins Mrs. Duboses camellias, he gets in trouble and ends up being punished

for his actions. He is upset because of how unfair the punishment that was given by Mrs. Dubose

is, but Atticus tells him that whatever she says, Jem has to complete. After Jem explains that he

has to pay Mrs. Dubose back by reading to her for the next month, Atticus tells him, Then

youll do it for a month (140). Atticus does not care how ridiculous the punishment is because

he believes that any lady should be treated with respect and that Jem should have patience with a

woman as old as Mrs. Dubose. Harper Lee expresses the theme, that kindness is always the

answer, through Atticuss words towards his children.

The nineteen thirties was a decade where politeness was a major priority and it was also a

decade where discrimination was what most people lived by. However, not only black people

were treated unequally. Boo Radley was apparently a sociopath who never came out of his house

and who murdered people. Even though Boo is only a minor character of the novel, his story

adds to the theme that you should not jump to conclusions nor should you judge someone by
what other people say. The second theme is shown through Atticus, who teaches his kids to be

kind and patient. Harper Lee is very mysterious with the way she writes because the themes are

hidden in a way that no one would be able to realize them just from reading. The readers have to

understand what is going on and grasp the background of the stories in order to realize the

lessons she is trying to teach. To Kill a Mockingbird, has such a deep and powerful message and

maybe if more people read it, our world would be much better.