To Kill a Mockingbird Literary Analysis Essay To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel by Harper Lee, is the tale of a young girl growing up in the sleepy town of Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930’s and how she matures and deals with all the day to day crises around her involving her friends, family, and the whole community. The parents, like Atticus, Mr. Cunningham, and Bob Ewell, raise their children to become the type of person they want them to be. Atticus Finch not only believes in setting a good example for his children, but he guides them along every step of the way and tells them right from wrong and how to cope with different situations.
To begin with, when Scout’s teacher, Mrs. Caroline, discourages her from reading with her father because she isn’t learning the right way, Atticus disagrees with the teacher and tells Scout, “First of all, if you can learn a simple trick Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view” (30). Atticus is trying to tell Scout that sometimes learning straight from the textbook isn’t always the most helpful thing to do and when you incorporate skills you have attained from other types of learning it helps make you a better individual.
Atticus explains to Scout that by learning something simple like reading and understanding the concepts, then it will allow you to understand people and their actions better. Secondly, Scout comes home to Atticus sad because kids are insulting her father because he is defending a black man in court. When Scout asks her father about this situation, Atticus explains that it is something he must do and she needs to keep her head high and her fists down and be the bigger person because that is the more responsible and noble thing to do (76).
Atticus teaching his daughter to keep calm and be patient with other people allows her to keep herself out of trouble and be well respected by her peers in the long run. No one wants to deal with someone who has a temper and results to physical violence every time they are insulted, instead she is taught to be the bigger person and just walk away from it all. Lastly, the children are being harassed by a mean old lady about their father defending a black man and she believes Scout needs to act like more of a girl. When Atticus crosses in front of Mrs. Dubose’s house ith his kids at his side he was very polite to her and acted as a gentleman even though she was cruel to them and spoke rude things (100). Atticus was a role model for his children and showed them that even though someone may make rude remarks about them, it never hurts to be the bigger person and nothing good will come if they act rude back at the person. By personally showing them how to keep their head held high and to stay strong in the face of adversity, it helped the kids better themselves and learn that two wrongs don’t make a right and it’s always easier to walk away from a bad situation.
Mr. Walter Cunningham tries to give his family the best life he can and is a very good man at heart. He raises his son by the same morals as he lives and treats him as good as he can. Walter Cunningham Jr. comes from a poor, but hardworking family. His father never accepted anything he would be unable to pay back. Walter was the spitting image of his father, and he was never able to pass the first grade because every year he leaves school behind to help his dad on the farm in order for their family to get by (19-21).
Mr. Cunningham raises his son to be an honest man, just as he was raised. He raises him to be trustworthy and work for every penny, instead of trying to coast by on welfare or the aid of others. Another example of Mr. Cunningham’s kindness is when he shows up at the Maycomb jail with a mob, whose intentions were to take Tom Robinson and lynch him. After Scout interrupts Atticus’ conversation with the mob, Mr. Cunningham realizes what the right thing to do is and tells everyone to go home (154). The fact that Mr.
Cunningham tells all his companions to leave and go home show that deep down, he is a kind and caring individual and this will carry over into how he raises his son. Walter will become the spitting image of his father because his dad acts as a role model to him and this makes Walter want to be just like him. Thirdly, Atticus is explaining that one of the Cunningham’s was on the jury of Tom Robinson’s trial and this news shocked the children. They were quickly calmed because “Atticus said you just had to know ‘em. He said the Cunningham’s hadn’t taken anything from or off of anybody since the migrated to the New World.
He said the other thing about them was, once you earned their respect they were for you tooth and nail” (222). The whole Cunningham family was known for being respectable, trustworthy, and loyal people. Since their reputation was so well known, it is clear that they will continue to be the same as they always have been and raise their kids to act just as they have acted over the course of their lives. Each generation of the family has been raised the same as the last and they all believe in the same ways as their elders and will do so for all the generations to come.
One of the most despicable men in Maycomb County was Mr. Bob Ewell. He is a trashy, lazy, poor excuse of a man who had 7 children in which he barely cared for. His oldest daughter, Mayella, was involved in a court case in which she claimed to have been assaulted and raped by a black man named Tom Robinson. The people in the court learned that Mayella came from a poor, trashy family who had no support besides a relief check from the government that her father took and spent mostly on alcohol.
It was believed that her father had seen her kissing on Tom Robinson so he beat her and then had Tom accused to save his family from the embarrassment of what she had done (182-183). Mr. Ewell was a filthy, lying scum bag and this carried over into his daughter. Not only did she lie in front of a court full of people, under the oath of God, but she also blamed a poor innocent man of something he never would have done and his death was a result of her false accusations. If she wasn’t raised by a lying, abusive father who never cared about her, she wouldn’t have tempted Tom by kissing on him and he would still be alive.
Another piece of evidence that shows Mayella was a liar was that she couldn’t keep her story straight when she was being questioned in court and she hesitated after each question was asked, as if she was trying to make up an answer on the spot (184-187). Obviously since she couldn’t keep her story straight she way lying to try and save herself from punishment by both the community and by her abusive father. If she didn’t have the fear of her father beating her then Mayella never would have lied to the court and saved everyone from all the trouble. Lastly, Mr.
Ewell showed a distinct hate for Atticus after he defended Tom Robinson in court because he felt like he was trying to make him look like a fool. It was explained that, “Atticus was leaving the post office when Mr. Ewell approached him, cursed him, spat on him, and threatened to kill him” (217). Bob Ewell showed how trashy he was by publicly insulting an honest man who was just doing his job and trying to keep someone alive who deserved to be alive. If Mr. Ewell set a better example for his children then maybe he wouldn’t be in the situation he was n now and his family would be able to afford more things because more people would want to hire him for a job. Each parent has a different view on what the feel is the right way to raise their own kid, whether it may seem good or bad to everyone else. No matter what, everyone who has a child is going to raise them how they feel fit and nobody can change their mind or how the choose to do so. Ultimately, Atticus, Mr. Cunningham, and Bob Ewell all contribute to the way their kids will act for the rest of their lives by how they choose to bring them up as children.