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 Childhood in To Kill a Mockingbird

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PostSubject: Childhood in To Kill a Mockingbird   Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:41 pm

What are your thoughts on the presentation of childhood in To Kill a Mockingbird? It's been months since I read TKaM. I've been sitting here thinking about this for an hour, and I'm having one of those brick wall days, even though it's not a hard assignment. I have no clue what I'm doing here. Any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

My essay prompt:
In some works of literature, childhood and adolescence are portrayed as times graced by innocence and a sense of wonder; in other workds, they are depicted as times of tribulation and terror. Explain how the representation of childhood in To Kill a Mockingbird shapes the meaning of the work as a whole. Do NOT merely summarize the plot."
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PostSubject: Re: Childhood in To Kill a Mockingbird   Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:57 pm

Scout and Jem's childhood in TKaM began innnocently; they would play together, hang out with Dill, and try to get Boo Radley out of his house. Later, though, Scout and Jem were in the thick of Tom's trial, and considering Atticus defends Tom in the trial, Scout and Jem face a lot of contempt from the town. The children also learn that Tom has been killed after being unfairly jailed, and sometime later, when Bob Ewell seeks revenge after being embarrassed by Atticus at the trial, he even attacks the kids. I would imagine that, after all of those experiences, Scout and Jem's innocence has partially gone. They understand what is truly in the world now; racism, violence, and people like Bob Ewell.

The mockingbird in TKaM symbolizes innocence; Tom was a mockingbird, completely innocent, but he was killed anyway. Scout and Jem's childhood help show that society frequently shoots down mockingbirds and innocence itself because that is exactly what happened to Scout and Jem; their innocence was sucked away.
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Childhood in To Kill a Mockingbird
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