Have innocentbehaviour and misunderstanding can lead a
Have you ever thought of an answer to reply to your children, when theyask you, What was the world like when you were a child?, What things thathappened that impressed you most when you were a child? or How interesting isyour childhood experience?. Everybody must have had their childhood. Some ofthe experiences may cause them to smile, or even laugh, while some of them maybring back bitter memories.
It is always hard to express the childhoodincidents or experience in a clear and interesting way, since they were pastmemories that happened long time ago. Moreover, when a person has grown up,they will never have the same feeling which they might have in their childhood.However, the authors Harper Lee and Mark Twain can express their own childhoodinside the stories they created, in a lively and realistic way. The two novelsTo Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer have a very similarcharacteristic. It is the way they describe a person’s childhood experience,and their feelings and new knowledge that come out from those experiences.
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Thischaracteristic, however, has given me a big revelation after reading the twonovels. The novels show that the childhood experience of a person has a greatpositive influence on his personality, behaviour, and ways on dealing withothers. This idea has been shown by the authors in both novels.From the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, one could discover that innocentbehaviour and misunderstanding can lead a child to view a person or thingincorrectly and incompletely. This behaviour can also lead a child to a wrongperspective. In the first part of To Kill a Mockingbird, the main charactersScout, Jem, and Dill thought that the Radley family and their member, Boo Radley,as strange and unnatural human beings. They described Radley’s house as Thatis a sad house.
… (Harper Lee, 48). This is a fact they heard from theirneighbours. Until one day, their neighbour Miss Maudie’s house was found onfire.
While Scout was standing outside in the cold watching the fire, someonefrom behind her and put a blanket around her shoulders. Later, Scout and Jemrealized that there was only one person in town who had not fought to put outthe fire — Boo Radley. Scout asked, Thank who?(Harper Lee, 76). Jem replied,Boo Radley. You were so busy looking at the fire you didn’t know it when he putthe blanket around you.(Harper Lee, 76) It was then that Scout and Jem startedto realize that Boo Radley was basically a kind and normal person, and that hewas not a strange person as they thought at the beginning of the story. Thisincident proves that misunderstanding can bring a child into wrong perspectives,and that experience through time helps to solve the problem.
There is alsoanother proof from the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In the story, themain character, Tom Sawyer, thought that school was a restriction to him andtherefore he decided to skip school and found his world of freedom from theforest and rivers. His aunt, Polly said, Didn’t you want to go in a-swimming,Tom? (Mark Twain, 13) Afterwards, Aunt Polly tried to punish him for skippingschool by ordering him to wash a long, huge fence. However, this did not haveany effect on Tom. He continued to do what he thought was right — skipsclasses. He did not seem to care why his aunt Polly punished him. This is,once again, another example to show how innocent behaviour can lead a child tohave wrong perspective and behaviour.
Although it has been said that innocent behaviour usually leads a childinto the wrong path, there are still some exceptions. Having said that, itshould be remembered that the nature of a child really helps to develop his orher own positive personality and behaviour, together with their childhoodexperience. For example, in To Kill a Mockingbird, the character Scout, was asmart and clever girl. However, she did not get any close friends other thanher new friend Dill and her brother Jem, as seen from the story. From the scenewhere Scout argued and embarrassed Mr. Cunningham, her friend WalterCunningham’s father, dissuading him from trying to kill Tom Robinson, one candiscover her talent in speaking and arguing with people.
She said, Hey, Mr.Cunningham, how’s your entailment gettin’ along? (Harper Lee, 155), remindingMr. Cunningham that Scout’s father, Atticus, had once helped him with legalproblems.
Scout continued to talk about young Walter, and how she once lent himmoney to buy lunch when the boy had nothing to eat. I go to school with Walter,he’s your boy, ain’t he? (Harper Lee, 156) This kind of friendly talk made Mr.Cunningham ashamed and finally left the jail instead of killing Tom Robinson.This nature helped her to grow up and become more mature through the experiencesshe encountered throughout the whole plot. Another example can be found fromthe novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In the story, Tom Sawyer was a typicalboy in his time. He was an imaginative, active, and smart boy.
From theincident where he tried to use his clever technique to make other boys completethe punishment given out by Aunt Polly as mentioned in the previous paragraph,one can discover how smart and clever he was. Tom said, Oh you think you aremighty smart, don’t you? I could lick you with one hand tied behind me, if Iwanted to. (Mark Twain, 15) showing his confidence in his own talent andknowledge. From the fact that he hated and skipped school all the time, he hadexperienced many unpredictable happenings that helped him to understand, tolearn more, and to develop his own perspective.
After discussing how the innocent behaviour of a child and his ownnature may have positive influence on him, it’s now time to talk about the results that came out from their childhood experience. From the two novelsdiscussed in the previous paragraphs, the results can be seen clearly fromeither the characters in the story or the children nowadays. After they wentthrough a journey of maturity, they finally became young adults who wereresponsible, caring, and intelligent.
Examples can be drawn from the novel ToKill a Mockingbird. After the two major incidents happened in the story, namely,the Boo Radley incident and Tom Robinson’s Trial, the character Scout started torealize that how important it was to understand a person and to have toleranceamong people. Scout felt sympathy and grief after knowing the death of TomRobinson, because he had committed no crime. She realized why her fatherAtticus told her not to kill a mockingbird; it’s because it was a harmless birdand innocent of any wrong. Miss Maudie explained to the children, Mockingbirdsdon’t do one thing but sing their hearts out of us.
(Harper Lee, 102) and thatit’d be a sin to kill a Mockingbird. Scout knew that a bad person like BobEwell in the story, could attack people physically, but he had no real power tocontrol people’s minds. Another example can be found on The Adventures of TomSawyer. Tom Sawyer was scared after the scene of murder by Injun Joe in thecemetery. He then knew that Injun Joe was a very very bad person. He thereforestood up in the witness box to point out Injun Joe’s crime. Also, from the lastpart of the story, Tom’s care for his girlfriend, Becky, is evident.
Tom tookcare of Becky when they were both in the cave. Becky felt she would die soonand made Tom promise that he would return to her and hold her hand when he couldfind a way out. She said, Can you find the way, Tom? It’s all a mixed-upcrookedness to me. (Mark Twain, 191). Tom kissed her and tried to act brave ashe left her to try to find a way out of the cave. He grew even mature after allthese bitter and unpleasant experiences.Sometimes it is very hard to find out why the childhood experience of aperson has a formative, or even a great positive influence, on either theirpersonality, behaviour, and ways on dealing with others.
The two novelsdiscussed above did give a very precise and clear answer to this question.However, to understand why this kind of experience may cause positive influenceon a child, one must not only look from their innocent behaviour and theirnature; other factors also count. It may be the era in which the child was born,or his family background, or may be the inherent personality of the child.
Nobody except a psychologist may have a perfect solution to this question. Butone hard core can be declared, the above question is one of the ideas which flowout from the two novels To Kill a Mockingbird from Harper Lee, and TheAdventures of Tom Sawyer from Mark Twain. The two authors have done anexcellent job in proving the idea discussed above — childhood experience of aperson has a positive influence on their perspectives and values. Category: English