English II Teacher to Kill Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Scout and Jem are likewise tormented by their classmates because of their father's courageous decision to defend an obviously innocent man. Scout already hates school and feels like a persecuted mockingbird in its controlled, conformist environment. She would rather be playing with her brother and her best friend Dill. School is yet another example of the ways in which society can be cruel and persecutory of people who are 'different.'

Scout is not above hurting other people, however. When she is humiliated by her teacher because she explains why a poor boy named Walter cannot afford even to borrow money for lunch and her teacher reprimands her, Scout turns against Walter by beating him up during lunchtime. Before she is saved by Boo, she is frightened of him and she and her friends make up stories about him, because they fear what they do not understand. It is
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this misunderstanding and fear that creates 'mockingbirds' -- both at school, and also in the hateful behavior of people like the Ewells, who attempt to keep African-Americans in their place, to bolster their own social reputation.

A final question that must be asked is if poor, ostracized 'white trash' like the Ewells are mockingbirds, given how poverty has coarsened their souls and caused them to inflict suffering upon others as a way of elevating their own status. Even Tom felt sorry for Mayella because of her suffering, and Scout pities her loneliness when she is on the witness stand. However, while the novel is full of many mockingbirds, Mayella does not try to make the world a better place. Rather, her ignorance and fear become weapons against others, and a true mockingbird only strives to bring goodness into the world.

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