‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee: Analysis

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<ul><li><p>7/29/2019 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Analysis</p><p> 1/7</p><p>C U L M I N A T I N G P R O J E C T # 2 : I N T R I N S I C</p><p>H E R O E S</p><p>Prepared for: Ms. Joy Bell</p><p>Prepared by: Favour Nerrise, C1Date: December 22, 2012</p></li><li><p>7/29/2019 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Analysis</p><p> 2/7</p><p>INTRINSIC HEROES</p><p>To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a text with very strong morals, especially</p><p>the classic tale of good versus evil in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama. Set in the</p><p>South of the US, Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930s the text tells a story of a decent</p><p>Negro man, Tom Robinson, being wrongly accused of the rape of a red-necked white</p><p>girl. He was wrongly accused for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is</p><p>also of a widowed hard working father, Atticus Finch, who as a lawyer rises above the</p><p>prejudice of local Maycomb society to defend this black man in court against a more or</p><p>less racist town of people, stuck with the idea that Negroes are simply inferior and a</p><p>different breed of people to all white folk. The novel clearly sets up most characters as</p><p>either a hero, or a villain through unconventional ways without looking at the obvious</p><p>choice of the man with the gun (149). Although Atticus seems to be the clear hero in</p><p>the story, some other improbable heroes are evident such as Mrs. Dubose and the Finch</p><p>children. The one thing that raises them to hero status is also the one thing that hurts them</p><p>so much. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee portrays true heroes, such as</p><p>Atticus and his children, as people who persevere through hardships even though</p><p>they know that they will lose.</p><p>In the dictionary, a hero is described as an object of extreme admiration and</p><p>devotion, an idol. A hero is usually the core character of a text; a hero is a character who</p><p>throughout a novel constantly emphasizes the texts central themes or morals, is</p><p>courageous, and puts others before him/herself. Intrinsic is used to describe an object or</p><p>subject of great internal value, hence genuine, or true.</p></li><li><p>7/29/2019 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Analysis</p><p> 3/7</p><p>The Finch children begin to learn the meaning of a true hero and begin to show it</p><p>themselves. Scout, still at a young age does not fully understand the meaning of a true</p><p>hero, but at the request of her father, becomes an example of one. At school, Scout is</p><p>widely known for her quick temper and ability to get in fights. When Atticus took the</p><p>case, Scout got in a lot more fights to not only openly defend her honor, but to defend her</p><p>familys as well. However, Atticus confronts her and tells her to hold her head up high</p><p>and keep those fists down, which upsets Scout (101). The following day, Scout decides</p><p>to listen to Atticus and when challenged by Cecil Jacobs, Scout decides the walk away.</p><p>Children begin to call her a coward and laugh at her but Scout keeps her head up high.</p><p>Even though she knows that kids will insult her, Scout goes through with it anyways. Jem</p><p>also becomes an example of a hero when he is at the jailhouse with the Sarum mob.</p><p>Despite being severely outnumbered, Jem decides to stand by his father and defend the</p><p>door of the jailhouse. Armed with guns and other weapons, the Sarum mob can seriously</p><p>hurt Jem, but he does not care. All that matters to him is that he stands by his father and</p><p>supports what he believes in. This just shows that true heroes do not have to be old and</p><p>wise, and do not have to make huge sacrifices. They just need to stand up for their beliefs</p><p>in times where there is no support whatsoever.</p><p>An unlikely hero in the book is Mrs. Dubose, who strongly overcame her morphine</p><p>addiction. At first, Mrs. Dubose is seen as an evil and prejudiced character that hates Jem</p><p>and Scout. Atticus reminds them to see it from her point of view before judging her,</p><p>which leads to them learning about her drug addiction. Mrs. Dubose needed the children</p></li><li><p>7/29/2019 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Analysis</p><p> 4/7</p><p>to help her through it, yet she suffered in silence. Moreover, she was very ill and close to</p><p>dying. The real courage came from the fact that although she knows that she will die, she</p><p>still tries to overcome her addiction, no matter how painful and difficult it is. Atticus</p><p>description of true heroes is when you know youre licked before you begin but you</p><p>begin anyway and you see it through no matter what (149). In the end, Mrs. Dubose is</p><p>able to die honorably and free from her demons. Even though it did not matter much, it</p><p>was still important to her, and that is what makes her a true hero.</p><p>Another undermined hero in To Kill a Mockingbird is Calpurnia. Although mostly</p><p>viewed as a housekeeper, she is a very significant character especially as a mother figure</p><p>to the Finch children. Calpurnia displayed heroic moments when she took the courage of</p><p>knocking on everyones door when there was a loose, mad dog roaming the streets, and</p><p>when she defended Jean-Louise and Jeremy at her church against Luna. In the rural</p><p>South, it was considered inappropriate for a Negro to visit a white folks house unless</p><p>invited; yet, she did what she considered right while dejecting the possible consequences.</p><p>In addition, Calpurnia took Jeremy and Jean Louise to her church while knowing Aunt</p><p>Alexandra will not be pleased. At her church, Luna, a Negro troublemaker, protested</p><p>about her bringing white chillun to a Negro church, but she stands up for them and says</p><p>they are her compny (158).</p><p>Atticus Finch is the intrinsic hero of the book because he takes the biggest risk,</p><p>despite knowing that he will definitely lose. Atticus shows in many cases, the definition</p><p>of a true hero but no situation was more important than the Tom Robinson trial. In</p><p>Maycomb, the thought of taking a Negros word over a white mans is ludicrous to the</p></li><li><p>7/29/2019 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Analysis</p><p> 5/7</p><p>citizens, especially over a matter as serious as a black man raping a white woman.</p><p>Regardless of this information, Atticus still takes Tom Robinsons case and tries to make</p><p>as big of a difference as possible. When Scout asks him if he thinks that he will win the</p><p>case, Atticus calmly replies No, honey (101). Atticus goes on to explain that Simply</p><p>because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to</p><p>win (101). Atticus believes that just because it is unlikely that he will win, does not</p><p>mean he has to give up before trying. In the weeks before the trial, the Finch family had</p><p>to endure huge amounts of discrimination because of the case. Atticus specifically</p><p>received discrimination from people such as Mrs. Dubose and his own sister. It even went</p><p>as far as his nephew saying that Hes ruinin the family and that they will not be able</p><p>to walk the streets anymore (110). Through all these hardships, Atticus remains strong</p><p>and focuses on his goal, no matter how tough it is. In his closing statements, Atticus pleas</p><p>to the jury in a manner that the children have never seen before: His voice had lost its</p><p>aridity, its detachment (271). He was not speaking as a professional, he was pleading</p><p>from his heart for them to abandon their set biases. He knows in his heart that they will</p><p>not, but that does not stop him from trying. Even Scout knows deep down that the verdict</p><p>will be guilty, when she compares watching Atticus efforts to watching Atticus walk</p><p>down the street, raise a rifle to his shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching all the time</p><p>knowing that the gun was empty (282). This metaphor explains that Scout knows all</p><p>along that Tom Robinson will be judged guilty and sees that Atticus is trying so hard for</p><p>no reason. When the verdict actually comes and unanimously finds Tom Robinson guilty,</p><p>Atticus has nothing to do but feel proud that he might have made a difference. This after</p><p>all, is all he could possibly have done.</p></li><li><p>7/29/2019 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Analysis</p><p> 6/7</p><p>Heroes come in many forms, whether it is a soldier in the war or an old lady</p><p>overcoming an addiction. Harper Lee believes that intrinsic heroes are not the ones with</p><p>the guns but the ones who persevere, even though they know that they will lose. Brave</p><p>does not even begin to describe the people who go through so much pain for a lost cause.</p><p>The universal image of a hero is a young physically able man who uses his strength to</p><p>solve problems. In To Kill a Mockingbird, the heroes come in many shapes and sizes,</p><p>from a frail old lady to a twelve year old boy. This just goes to show, that in our world,</p><p>anyone can be a hero and everyone should be respected for his or her efforts.</p></li><li><p>7/29/2019 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Analysis</p><p> 7/7</p><p>BIBLIOGRAPHY</p><p>eNotes. Who is the true hero in To Kill a Mockingbird?</p><p>2009. 20 Dec. 2012. &lt; http://www.enotes.com/to-kill-a-mockingbird/q-and-a/who-true-</p><p>hero-kill-mockingbird-72629&gt;.</p><p>Kaylee. "To Kill a Mockingbird Essay: True Heroes"</p><p>5 April 2009. 20 Dec. 2012. .</p><p>Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 1960.</p><p>SparkNotes. To Kill A Mockingbird.</p><p>13 December 2012. 20 December 2012</p><p>.</p>http://www.enotes.com/to-kill-a-mockingbird/q-and-a/who-true-hero-kill-mockingbird-72629http://www.enotes.com/to-kill-a-mockingbird/q-and-a/who-true-hero-kill-mockingbird-72629http://www.enotes.com/to-kill-a-mockingbird/q-and-a/who-true-hero-kill-mockingbird-72629http://www.enotes.com/to-kill-a-mockingbird/q-and-a/who-true-hero-kill-mockingbird-72629</li></ul>


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