To Kill A Mockingbird
James P. Krehbiel once said “Inevitably, if we are to grow and change as adults, we must gradually learn to confront the challenges, paradoxes, problems and painful reality of an insecure world.” In Harper Lee’s book, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper lee sends many messages to the reader. Set in a fictitious town in Alabama in the 1930’s, one obvious theme is racism. However, while racism was the most obvious theme, it wasn’t the only one; other themes included innocence, understanding and growing up. Harper Lee also suggests how a person should react to problems around them. She shows us this through her character Jean Louise Finch, otherwise known as Scout, one of the main characters and narrator. Scout faces many problems growing up because of her father’s occupation as a lawyer and his doing his best to defend a black man in court. Scout shows us her questioning when she talks about Hitler, when she reads Mr. Underwood's article about the trail, and she show us her growth in the final pages of the book when she isn’t scared by the grey ghost. Harper Lee believes that we should face our problems by questioning them and acknowledging their existence; and that if a person questions and learns from the problems around them they will gain maturity and knowledge not teachable in schools.
In To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout reacts positively to problems and bad situation many times. An important early example of facing problems is when she declined to fight Cecil Jacobs for calling Atticus “a disgrace”. While Scout isn’t facing this problem head on by ignoring Cecil Jacobs, she isn't hiding from the problem. Many children think they can solve their problems by fighting the source of their problem, so why wouldn’t Harper Lee have scout fight Cecil Jacobs? I believe Harper Lee wrote the book so that Scout didn't fight Cecil, because this scene reinforces the theme of facing problems or more specifically in this instance not running from them. In this instance if scout wanted to “run away” from the problems she was having the easiest way would be to fight Cecil Jacobs. Instead she ignores Cecil, putting Atticus’s approval of what she does above her wanting to stop being harassed by Cecil. Scout also learned a great deal about racism from Atticus because she questioned what Cecil said. In this example Scout didn’t avoid the problem, she also questioned what she was being told and most importantly she learned and important lesson about racism that she wouldn't learn in Maycomb's school system because of it.
Scout questions things around her on many occasions, the most important of which is when Scout reads Mr. Underwood’s article. Before Scout had read this article she believed Tom’s trial had been fair. This is proven by this quote in chapter 5, page 323, when scout thinks about Tom Robinson's trial being called unfair...