January 16, 2013
TKaM Essay: Courage
Harper Lee’s To kill a Mockingbird is an American classis based on the author’s childhood. In this book 3 children portray 1 character, Boo Radely, as a “malevolent phantom”, a monster and also an inferior. These 3 children, Scout, Dill and Jem, essentially treat Boo as if he weren’t human, just like Maycomb treats Tom Robinson, a black man wrongly accused of rape. The kids and the town of Maycomb act on the same social level, treating Boo and Tom essentially the same way.
A malevolent phantom, a monster, and his own name describes the prejudice these children felt against Boo, but the kids were naive and young and there image of Boo was only based on a game and silly stories. Their “game” was based on the false pretense that Boo was a frightening creature and the whole idea was to lure Boo to come out of his home. Unknowingly they did accomplish this goal. Once Boo left treats for Jem and Scout in a knothole of an oak tree. Again Boo came out during the cold night when Miss Maudie’s house burned down and secretly covered scout with a blanket. Even if Boo enjoyed the kids’ presence the children thought otherwise.
Maycomb had the same feelings about Tom Robinson. When Tom testified he humbly said that he felt sorry for Mayella, but Mr. Gilmer, angered and frustrated, replied “you felt sorry for her, you felt sorry for her?” (Lee, pg. 200). He was implying that no black man or woman can feel sympathy for a superior white man or woman. Because he was black and because of his “unmitigated temerity” he was falsely accused of rape and sent to prison.
Boo and Tom were treated with fierce prejudice. No matter how true and clear the innocence was, the children and the town of Maycomb continued to believe in what they thought was true....