Comparing "To Kill A Mockingbird" And "Bless Me, Ultima".

1619 words - 6 pages

Childhood is the most carefree part of a person's life. Children are instinctively pure creatures, unperturbed by the troubles that may surround them. Like the quote above states, the incidents they go through are simply black and white, good and bad. However, as they grow older, they lose their innocent state of mind. They are suddenly thrown into a world where they are constantly struggling to defeat the odds and are desperately seeking answers to life's questions. Is there anyone that helps them during this difficult time, to see the "shades of gray?" Of course, there can be many answers to this question, but I think the single most influential person who guides a child through this stage is a family member. Family is one of the most important factors that help shape a person's life. In the critically lauded and moving tales of "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee and "Bless Me, Ultima" by Rudolfo Anaya, the protagonists are all children, newly thrust into the world, faced with extreme obstacles and situations that test their character. Each one deals with these obstacles in different ways because of their different personalities. However, one thing is certain--the main characters of both novels overcome their hurdles and develop a strong level of morality along the way because they are guided by the love, understanding, and experience of their family members.A major theme in To Kill a Mockingbird is the moral nature of humans. At the beginning of the novel, Scout and Jem live in their childhood world, intuitively assuming that everyone is good because not once in their lives have they seen what evil truly is. As Jem and Scout transition from their naïveté and innocence, Atticus is there every step of the way, in order to guide them towards the right path. He is neither the strictest parent nor the most affectionate, but the reader comes to see Atticus as the noblest man and father one could ever encounter. As Tom Robinson's trial looms around the corner, Atticus is worried that Scout and Jem are too young to understand the true significance of the trial. He confides in Uncle Jack, saying that he doesn't wish his children to catch "Maycomb's usual disease." (page 88) He means that he doesn't want Jem and Scout to be influenced by the prejudice of close-minded Southern folks. He doesn't want to shield them, however, from something that is inevitable. Instead, he lets them make their own decisions regarding life, but is there to help them distinguish right from wrong. Atticus never forces his children to do anything or reprimands them. "'Atticus, you've never laid a hand on her.' 'I admit that...Jack, she minds me as well as she can.'" (page 88) Instead, he guides them by example. Jem and Scout are able to grudgingly accept the other schoolchildren's mocking of Atticus. When Cecil Jacobs taunts Scout, she says: "Somehow, if I fought Cecil I would let Atticus down. Atticus so rarely asked Jem and me to do something for him, I could...

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