פוסט: To Kill A Mockingbird By, Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird By, Harper Lee “Maycomb
was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew
it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew
on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square.”(Lee
9). This environment, as Scout Finch accurately describes, is
not conducive to young children, loud noises, and games.
But, the Finch children and Dill must occupy themselves in
order to avoid boredom. Their surroundings are their
boundaries, but in their minds, they have no physical
confines. Although the physical “boundaries were Mrs. Henry
Lafayette Dubose’s house two doors to the north…, and the
Radley Place three doors to the south,”(Lee 11) Jem, Scout,
and Dill find ways to use the limits, in conjunction with their
imaginations, to amuse themselves. The children are the ones
who change the old town and make it full of unexpected

events. In the same way as the children, the adults of the
novel play games that come from their imaginations and, they
themselves are the ones who provide the fear for everyone in
the county to fear. “Maycomb County had recently been told
that it had nothing to fear but fear itself”(10). The adults and
the children share the fact that they both play games, but a
difference also exists between them. The children enact their
entertainment, knowing that the games could get violent, but
in the end, when the games are over, all the players are able
to return home. On the other hand, the adults play their adult
games, hurting anyone who does not play by the given rules,
and not everyone is fortunate enough to return home. The
children pretend to be violent at times but the adults actually
are violent. As the children move through the novel, they use
these games to develop from their innocence to a level of
experience by actualizing the realities of their games through
the lives of the adults. Through their own games and through
the games of the adults, the children learn values of respect,
courage, and understanding. As most children naturally do,
Jem, Scout, and their newly-found friend Dill find amusements
to make the days pass with excitement. When they first meet
Dill, they are beginning the “day’s play in the backyard”(11).
The implication is that it becomes routine for them to play and
that each day brings on a different experience. When Dill joins
them in their daily adventures, they begin to create more
elaborate activities. Many days they spend improving the
treehouse, “fussing”(12), and acting out parts of plays by
Oliver Optic, Victor Appleton, and Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Their games of Tom Swift, The Rover Boys, and The Gray
Ghost are the source of their pleasures for hours and days
upon end. Once these games seem rote and overplayed, they
decide to make Boo Radley come out. The mystery of Boo
Radley is appealing and leaves more room for their
imaginations to grow. Thus, the “Boo Radley” plays begin.
These plays are innocent in their motives and since they are
not real, the consequences are virtually nonexistent. Although
these plays are simply for amusement, in the end, they teach
Jem, Scout, and Dill lessons about respect, courage, and
understanding. The “Boo” games begin with a simple dare
that Jem has to carry out in order to gain respect from his
sister and friend. By slapping the Radley’s house, he is almost
a hero for a brief moment- a hero that Scout and Dill admire
because of his tremendous courage. Scout also has her turn
to prove herself to the boys, but the opportunity comes to her
as a surprise. As she rolls uncontrollably in a tire into the
Radley’s front yard, her fear heightens with every turn and the
smartest thing for her to do is to run away as fast and as far
away as possible. Scout and Jem both learn about courage in
the first Boo games they invent by testing their levels of fear.
The next stage in their Boo pursuits leads out of discussions
with the wise, lady neighbors about “B-Mr. Arthur’s” past (50).
The children have their prior assumptions about Boo from the
wild stories, rumors, and vague answers they receive from
Miss Stephanie Crawford , Atticus, and Miss. Maudie. The
stories only further their imaginations to run wild because Boo
is still a mystery. The children travel through phases in the
Boo games, the first of which involves violence. They act out
different versions of Boo stabbing his father in the leg with
scissors and other horrible, violent acts on Boo’s part. As the
games become routine, they take a different perspective and
see Boo as a positive figure. Boo, to them, is a potential
friend-if only they could let him know their harmless intentions.
So they embark on yet another quest to try to reach Boo. The
experience of placing a note on the windowsill of the Radley
Place turns sour when Atticus walks into the scene and
reprimands them for bothering someone who obviously wants
to be left alone. Despite Atticus’ warnings, the children’s thirst
for knowledge of Boo’s life drives them to their most
dangerous adventure thus far. The new idea of looking into
the window of the house is a turning point in the novel
because it pushes the children closer to the reality of the adult
world. Mr. Nathan Radley catches them in a roundabout way,
and the three mischievous kids realize how far they have
gone away from the “game.” Before that night, Boo is simply a
game. The incident included the reality of a shotgun and of
Jem’s pants stuck at the trespassing scene. The game has
turned into a dangerous, scary expedition that leaves all three
of them shaken and stunned. Jem shows his courage by
going back for his pants in the middle of the night and Scout
has to display faith and courage to be able to stay home, not
knowing if her brother would return alive or dead. Jem and
Scout learn about courage and faith but, more importantly,
they are beginning to see the reality of their games. That
scary night is a seemingly large obstacle in their Boo pursuits
until Miss Maudie’s house goes up in flames. The
white-covered, black snowman they build before the fire turns
into a messy pile on the ground, showing that mixed black and
white cannot last. Also, the snowman is another game Jem
and Scout create that pokes fun at Mr. Avery’s size. This
mockery by means of the “morphodite” snowman turns around
on the children as they watch the burning house and Mr.
Avery stuck in the window. Jem and Scout have another
brush with reality in this terrible mishap when they see that
their snowman ridicules Mr. Avery for the very same reason
he is stuck in the burning house. Boo also makes another
appearance to Scout and Jem unknowingly, until they return
home with an unidentified blanket around Scout’s shoulders.
Boo’s unspoken, unseen presence at the fire put him in a new
light in Jem’s and Scout’s eyes. Yet again, they see reality
and their games slowly fading and losing their meaning. The
burning house and Boo’s reappearance show Jem and Scout
more pieces of reality and push them closer and closer to the
adult world. Jem and Scout continue to ascertain lessons of
respect and understanding through relatives, Atticus, and
Mrs. Dubose. As the trial creeps closer, Scout and Jem each
have to test their self-control in accepting or ignoring the
multitudes of “nigger-lover” comments coming their way, by
adults as well as children. Scout loses all control when she
beats up her cousin Francis, but she does not completely
understand her mistake. She does not like the games that
Francis plays with her because they test her patience in
taking criticism from others. Uncle Jack, who has to punish
her, also plays a role in another realization by the children. He
brings them air rifles for Christmas (they are from Atticus) and
Atticus tells them that they can shoot at anything but that it is
a sin to kill a mockingbird. The children understand this when
Miss Maudie explains that mockingbirds do no harm except
provide beautiful music for everyone to enjoy. The
explanation makes Jem and Scout respect Atticus and the
mad dog incident heightens that respect. The mad dog shows
Jem and Scout how powerful and dangerous a weapon is and
that Atticus is not as old as they think. The children, at this
stage in their lives, have been through numerous games,
many of which become realities. Soon, “Boo Radley became
passé”(103) and the pressing matters of the day are school,
Mrs. Dubose, and the trial. School, as usual for Scout, is a
boring necessity because she is wise beyond her years. Jem,
of his own fault, has to read to Mrs. Dubose every day and
eventually he learns an important lesson. Jem and Scout
learn about death and they gain an understanding for the type
of person Mrs. Dubose is when they see how her views on life
have an effect on her death. The adult games have been
going on for a while but Scout and Jem are just beginning to
see the games evolving. The most difficult matter for Jem and
Scout to understand soon comes to be the trial. They have
been faced with ignorant people calling them “nigger-lovers”
but they do not get a full understanding of the slang term until
the trial is upon them. The night Atticus spends reading in
front of the jailhouse, where he is actually guarding Tom
Robinson’s cell, Scout, Jem, and Dill experience a faint taste
of the adult games’ flavor. The mob of common men from
Maycomb County gather around Atticus, threatening his and
Tom’s lives. Once Scout, Jem, and Dill enter the scene, it
becomes harder for the men to conduct “business.” Scout, still
in her innocence, breaks the crowd by recognizing Mr.
Cunningham and, she proceeds to praise his son Walter
without a thought to the fact that Mr. Cunningham has come
to hurt Atticus on his way to Tom Robinson. In her innocent
gesture, Scout makes Mr. Cunningham realize that he is a
father, not just part of a nameless mob, and, in a sense, he
“walks around in Atticus’ skin” for a moment. The
individualizing Scout has done humanizes the originally
dehumanized mob and ends the threat to many lives at stake.
Scout does not realize the extent of her actions until later on
and the understanding raises her up a level of maturity. The
game that the men are playing puts lives at risk and shows
Scout that adults play with strange sets of rules. She reaches
an understanding in the jailhouse scene that still continues to
push her into the adult world. The entire trial is an adult game
in itself. The players play the game to the advantage of
Mayella and Bob Ewell and the disadvantage of Tom
Robinson, the entire Finch family, and every colored person in
Maycomb County. The victors (the Ewells), begin the game
with the false accusation of rape against Tom, only to stop the
reputation Mayella would gain if people know that she has
flirted with a black man. The people of the county create the
game based on the racial issues of the day and the rules are
clear: if one is black, he is guilty, no questions asked. Scout
and Jem personally see this gruesome, unegalitarian game
and the consequences that result in an eventual end to Tom’s
life and almost the fall of their own lives. The official trial is full
of games the lawyers play so each one could present his side
of the argument. The children have a bias toward their father
but, as they watch and listen intently, they acquire a higher
respect for him. It is evident that Atticus is playing the game
but his version has rules of respect and regard for the ones
involved, innocent or guilty. Jem and Scout gain an
understanding of the case and respect for Atticus through his
behavior in court and it is the understanding that makes it
harder for them to accept the verdict. Atticus, again a noble,
wise father, explains as best he can so the children have
some indication of both opponents’ reasons for the actions
they see in the courtroom. The trial itself creates a separated
reality for the children because it occurs in the courthouse
and Atticus tries not to let it come home with him. Although
Atticus tries to leave the trial out of his personal life, it
becomes inevitable that someone is going to get hurt. In the
last major event in the novel, Boo Radley comes back into
Jem’s and Scout’s lives. It begins when Scout, at the school
agricultural play, feels mortification due to her own
carelessness. In the beginning of the novel, she probably
would not have cared what everyone thinks of her mistake
but, through her experiences thus far, she learns to care
about what others think and she feels ashamed that she
misses her cue to come out on stage. Jem, also grown
through his experiences, becomes a fine young gentleman
who is following in his father’s footsteps and also assumes the
role of Scout’s protector. Their almost fatal walk home the
night of the play, that Aunt Alexandra unknowingly predicts
earlier, proves Jem’s courage and becomes life-saving for
Scout. Scout realizes her brother’s heroic actions and
acquires a higher level of respect for him. As Boo Radley
appears in the last part of the novel, Scout clearly has a new
understanding for his character, finally has the courage to
speak to him, and has enough respect for him to walk him
home. The violent last scene becomes the complete reality
and thrusts Jem and Scout into the adult games. Despite
Atticus’ efforts, Bob Ewell still invades the Finches’ private
lives and he initiates the children into the adult world. The
children make the transition from the world of innocence to
the reality of the adult world through the experiences they find
in their own games and later, the adult games. The “Boo”
games begin Jem’s and Scout’s journey to gain some of the
most important values in life: respect, courage, and
understanding. Through the games of the adults, the children
learn to hold the values, of which the most important one is
life itself