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Role Models in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

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    Young people always need someone to look up to, whether it is to become something great like their idol or have an evil turn on it. In Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, the protagonist Jean Louise, also called Scout, sees the full truth of the people in her community. Growing up around the injustices reveals the implicit corrupt souls of the people she is surrounded by. Some in the novel seek to invoke for a teaching to go the right direction in life. Through characterization, conflict, and symbolism, Lee highlights that role models can lead a civilization into a state of mind where good and evil is shown through actions. Lee includes characterization to how the factors of each person in the novel which reflected their outlook on others.

    Atticus is the father of Scout and will always protect her but there is a side of him that makes him help everyone in general. Atticus arbitrated to find out the truth and tried to help out the right person. He stated “Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The only thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a personal conscience” (Lee 118). Lee incorporates multiple positive reminds of Atticus great actions on helping others that it was influenced on Scout and showed character development as a child to adult. If there were no role models with positive characterizations then scout could only be impacted with all the negative hatred encompassing her. The young characters in the novel were lacking the role models in their community because racism is looking all around even though some say they aren’t, you can tell by the attitude towards the black community. That can shape one as a person and affect their actions.

    Conflict is emphasized all throughout the novel between races since the corrupt society is bias against the black community–then results to the injustice ness for Tom Robinson. A black male living in Maycomb, when he was accused of rape and the prey took on the innocent. Atticus stated “…I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb’s usual disease” (Lee 117). This was referring to the bitterness of the Tom Robinson’s trial and disease as racism in Maycomb. The conflict stays constant when rumors are made up and the outlook of certain people gets negative. The role models in this section are represented when Atticus stands for what’s fair and courageously teaches the young’s what is right from wrong. He’s a very opened minded character and respects all perspectives but he personally wants to help people to serve justice.

    Lastly, Lee uses symbolism as an indirect way to express her thoughts in a form of teaching. When one doesn’t have as much as others do, they usually get looked down upon. In this case, Calpurnia is a caretaker of Scouts– she not only treats her physically but gives lessons on real-life scenarios. As an influencer to Scout, she states “ Yo’ folks might be better’n the Cunninghams but it don’t count for nothin’ the way your disgracin’ em’ if you can’t act fit to eat at the table you can just sit in here and eat in the kitchen” (Lee 26). Calpurnia recognizes the discriminatory of Scout’s perspective towards Walter Cunningham since he’s poor. For this reason, Scout see’s as different. She then explains how everyone should be equal despite their personal differences when compared to each other. To the audience, it symbolizes as an equalizer. In the novel, Harper Lee’s attempt to elucidate the corruption behind the actions and mindsets of the people in Maycomb. During their time, children such as Scout needs a role model to follow the right footsteps while being taught the upright things. Maycomb was segregated both mentally and physically when someone of one race would interact with another, it was seen as absurd. As the new generation develops, the young need to be educated at an early age so when children mature, their attitudes towards other culture, races, and ethnicity won’t have opinions only based on those elements.

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