Miss Harper Lee has chosen Scout as a first person narrator inthis story. This narrative technique has many strengths and someweaknesses. Scout is a bright, sensitive and intelligent littlegirl. For all her intelligence, she is still a child and does notalways fully understand the implications of the events shereports. This is sometimes amusing, as the time she thinks MissMaudie’s loud voice scares Miss Stephanie. Scout does her best toinform us of the happenings at the Tom Robinson trial. Yet, sheis not certain what rape is, and is neither aware of the prejudicestate surrounding her. Ultimately she represents the innocencewithin society.
In To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout Finch, a little girl growing up ina small Southern town, tells the story of her childhood, when shewitnessed the trial of a Negro falsely accused of raping a whitewoman. The Negro’s lawyer is Scout’s father, Atticus Finch. Hedefends the Negro vigorously, though he expects to lose the case.
As well as being the story of childhood, it is also the story ofthe struggle for equality of the American Negro.
To Kill A Mockingbird can be read as the story of a child’sgrowth and maturation. Almost every incident in the novelcontributes something to Scout’s perception of the world. Throughher experiences she grows more tolerant of others, learning how to” climb into another person’s skin and walk around in it.” On herfirst day of school she finds that there are both social and poorclasses in society, some are respectable and others not. She alsolearns that her father is an extra-ordinary man, fighting for aNegro’s rights in court. At the trial of Tom Robinson Scoutlearns about equality and inequality, about justice and injusticeand finally about racial prejudice.
Many times during the course of the novel the idea of themockingbird comes to mind. We first hear of the bird when thechildren are given there first air rifles for Christmas, Therefather warns them to never shoot the songbird, saying to do sowould be a sin. During the trial of Tom Robinson, it occurs tothe reader that the Negro has many characteristics he shares withthe mockingbird, He is a gentle man, who has never harmed anyoneand only tried to help. His murder is as much a sin as thekilling of any innocent creature. By the end of the novel we seethat the hermit Boo Radley is also like the mockingbird. He isshy and gentle, living quietly and harming no one. Near the endof the novel, Boo saves the children from being killed. Scoutrealizes that bringing Boo into the limelight would only be likekilling the songbird. Many themes and ideas are presented in thisnovel, the sympathy theme is one of the main ones.
Throughout the novel, Atticus repeats to Scout an Jem theimportance of seeing things from another point of view in order tounderstand what the other person is feeling. The theme ofchildhood is also another important one. The story takes placeover a period of years, and the reader takes part in the adventureof the child growing up in a small Southern town.
To Kill A Mockingbird is a fascinating story about a trial of aNegro man in a small Southern town. This novel is a must forevery person to read because it not only displays the racialtensions in a small town and the effects it has on it’s citizens,but it displays it through the eyes of a young innocent, six yearold child.