To Kill A Mockingbird
By: Josiah, Christian and Kyle
Humor and Humanity in To Kill A Mockingbird, points out that moral values are not necessarily absolute, how it may sometimes be wise to disregard some of them, and how both acceptance and revolt are necessary to make the world more livable for oneself and others.
It also draws attention to the fact that another aspect of Scout's growing up is that she needs to learn not to use violence to get her way. The contrast between expectation and reality is of course quite funny, as one seldom thinks of a little girl beating up other children not to mention felling the hulking Bob Ewell with her little bare foot because she inadvertently "aimed too high" (163)
More Than One Way to (Mis)Read a Mockingbird touches on the fact that Mayella's right eye is bruised, and Atticus is nearly blind in his left eye, both literally and figuratively: "Whenever he wanted to see something well, he turned his head and looked from his right eye" (98). Later, when Atticus scolds Scout, he pins her "to the wall with his good eye" (146). When Atticus questions Mayella on the witness stand, he "turned his good right eye to the witness" (199). Atticus uses his "right" eye, his "good" eye for wisdom. Both "good" and "right" express moral undertones, as in "the good," suggesting wisdom and insight are products of "good" eyes.
Character Foil Combinations
Scout is very intelligent and confident for her age group because she had begun learning to read even before school, and she thinks about the consequences before she does something. She can be considered a tomboy though it’s unusual to see this in a small town setting.
Direct Characterization: “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” Scout directly states that she loves reading.
Indirect Characterization: "Don't you remember me, Mr. Cunningham? I'm Jean Louise Finch. You brought us some hickory nuts one time, remember?....I go to school with Walter...He's your boy, ain't he?" This shows her courage because she, unlike the mob, actually singles out Mr. Cunningham.
Scout is a round character. Because she is the main character and the narrator, we understand all of her thoughts and feelings. Scout is also a very dynamic person. She matures and becomes more intelligent substantially from the beginning to the end of TKAM. “I had never seen our neighborhood from this angle...As I made my way home, I felt very old.”
For the most part, Scout gives us the events from her childhood perspective, as she understood them at the time, rather than imposing an adult commentary. This makes the narrative perspective naïve: often we get descriptions of events just as she experiences them, without commentary on what they mean, or a commentary that is hilariously innocent.
"Mr. Underwood didn't talk about miscarriages of justice, he was writing so children could understand. Mr. Underwood simply figured it was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting, or escaping."
Historical: In Chapter 1, the Battle of Hastings is mentioned, which was a decisive battle in 1066 in the Norman Conquests of England.
Biblical: In Chapter 12, the Garden of Gethsemane is mentioned. This was where Jesus went to pray the night before his crucifixion.
Literary: In Chapter 2, the Bullfinch is mentioned, which is a book titled “Bullfinch’s Mythology.”
Champion, Laurie. "Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird." Explicator 61.4 (Summer 2003): 234-236. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 194. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 May 2015.
Murray, Jennifer. "More Than One Way to (Mis)Read a Mockingbird." The Southern Literary Journal 43.1 (2010): 75+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 May 2015.
Tavernier-Courbin, Jacqueline. "Humor and Humanity in To Kill a Mockingbird." On Harper Lee: Essays and Reflections. Ed. Alice Hall Petry. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 2007. 41-60. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Jelena Krstovic. Vol. 169. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 May 2015.