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A novel in which every scene and detail has its meaning and a single item has symbolism is no other than To Kill A Mockingbird. To Kill A Mockingbird has many themes although one theme, in particular, develops over the course of the novel. In this novel, it focuses on two characters, that being Scout and Jem and their coming of age story. Opening their eyes and seeing the truth behind what they had previously believed, in the small town of Maycomb. In this novel, a theme that is emphasized throughout the novel is the importance of innocence and growing up.
In the very beginning, it seems as though Jem scout and dill were pretty innocent happy children, believing anything that was told or even heard regarding Boo Radley. Due to Dill’s curiosity, Jem informed, “Them that boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that’s why his hands were bloodstained-if you ate an animal raw, you could never wash the blood off. There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time”. This shows how innocent they are believing the roomers they would hear even though it is mostly unrealistic.
As time goes on Jem had hit the age of 12, and is described as being moody and difficult to live with, although he does certain actions that prove he’s maturing. Scout discovers how alike Jem actually was to Atticus, by pointing out, “Jem’s soft brown hair and eyes, his oval face and snug-fitting ears were our mother’s contrasting oddly with Atticus’s gaying black hair and square-cut features, but they were somehow alike. Mutual defiance made them alike. Jem is becoming like his father with his actions as he defends what’s right even though he knows she might not be able to win he still takes the opportunity.
Jem and Scout had been dealing with the situation of Tom Robinson’s trial and his death, affecting the two young ones as they know he was an innocent man. When remembering and passing by the Radley house she demonstrates maturity: “So many things had happened to us, boo Radley was the least of our fears”. Scout began to realize that there were bigger issues than hearing or discussing rumors about Boo Radley. She now begins to understand how the town was never how she imagined instead of people who judge with stereotypes and racist people.
The importance of innocence is key for children, it helps them grow to be their own person without society forming them into the person they don’t want to be. During Tom Robinson’s trial, their innocence is tested, as they are watching they learn that people are not judged by the importance or quality of their statements and evidence but are thoroughly judged by the colour of their skin. In the novel, Tom Robinson states that Mayella jumped on him and kissed him, to Jem and Scout this wasn’t a huge problem, but Atticus continues to say that ‘She was white, and she tempted a Negro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable: she kissed a black man. Not an old Uncle, but a strong young Negro man. No code mattered to her before she broke it, but it came crashing down on her afterwards.’ This is a huge loss of innocence as the kids have been confronted with racial injustice, which they realize this is not the only time social biased morality has occurred.
The theme of innocence and growing up plays a huge role in the novel and even makes it move forward. Throughout his novel, you see as Jem and scout view things differently than in the beginning and understanding the reality they live in. Throughout their lives they thought that their town was just like any normal town all ways the same and people minding their own business. In a part of the novel it Atticus reminds Jem that it was a sin to kill a mocking bird, as they were innocent. When thinking about the book To Kill A Mocking Bird the title has a different meaning when it comes to the theme of innocence and growing up, even how it relates to the kids and their reality.
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