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To Kill a Mockingbird

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Pre-AP English II

31st May 2011

Seeing the Truth Through Clean Windows

Prejudice is an inherited lineage. It is passed down from each generation. Children follow the example of the parents because it is what is taught. In the town of Maycomb, racism and other bigotry run rampant. Adults make excuses for the discrimination while children speak openly and honestly about their thoughts. In To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee highlights the evil character of racism by presenting through an innocent child's prospective. Though many will continue the spread the chauvinism, there are a select few of children that were taught to rise above the injustice and sprout a new generation of acceptance.

Blind to prejudice, Atticus Finch educates hid two children on the kindness of being unbiased. For example "...nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don't mean anything - like snot-nose. It's hard to explain - ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody's favoring Negroes over and above themselves..." "You aren't really a nigger-lover, then, are you?" 

"I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody..." Though Scout uses a term for Black supporters that her Father does not approve of, Atticus gently guides his daughter to a kind and compassionate state of mind.

Though truthfulness is taught from a moment a child is born, for pride's sake, many adults deceive them to protect. Atticus declares, "When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness' sake. But don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em.... What bothers me is that she and Jem will have to absorb some ugly things pretty soon." Meaning he believes that adults should answer any query a child may have to teach them about the society they will soon one day enter.

After the conviction and murder of Tom Robison, Atticus's teaching of acceptance is proven to be successful when Jem is obviously distraught, "Atticus-" said Jem bleakly. 

He turned in the doorway. "What, son?" 

"How could they do it, how could they?" 

"I don't know, but they did it. They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it - seems that only children weep. Good night." Though heartbreaking, Jem's grief about the death of Robison, it demonstrates how Atticus has been such a powerful and positive influence on his children's morality. Jem's despair displays the fact the racism of Maycomb has not penetrated his loving and compassionate soul.

Adults naturally justify their negative actions. They evade the truth of the bigotry while children are honest, upfront



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