Theme Of Appearances In To Kill A Mockingbird

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In Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, two children grow up facing issues of race, poverty, and identity in Mississippi during the 1930s. Their family bonds even as a trial for life continues to create discourse through the town’s normal dynamic. Throughout the novel, there are many opportunities where readers can learn life lessons alongside the characters which in turn allows for lessons then to be expanded on in their own lives after reading. In To Kill A Mockingbird, Lee uses her characters’ false pretenses to prove that appearances can be inaccurate. When withdrawn from society, false rumors spread which hide a person’s true self. The two main children in the story experience this with one of their neighbors, Mr. Arthur “Boo” Radley.…show more content…
Lee uses a somewhat background character to show this in her work. Mrs. Dubose, an elderly neighbor nearing the end of her life, “ was a morphine addict,” but always intended “ to break herself [free of it] before she died” (178). Often times Jem would receive her cold remarks while passing by her house, thinking her primitive and rude, never understanding her hidden constant battle. Upon her death however, he learned that behind all of her snarkiness she was a person with integrity who did not want to be tied down by a worldly substance, and began to see Mrs. Dubose as a person to be respected. Readers in today’s world know how widespread addiction is, and can now see the advantages to looking closer in order to find the true qualities that define the individual. Addictions are hard to overcome, but stripping away the inaccurate pretenses can aide in humanizing people once…show more content…
Lee uses Tom Robinson as her example of a criminal. After being brought into the court for a crime Tom did not commit, Link Deas jeopardizes his own standing to explicitly state he “ain’t had a speck of trouble out of [Tom],” in all the time he has employed Tom, “not a speck,” (261). Besides “trying to help” Mayella Ewell with her daily chores, Tom is religiously active at “Calpurnia’s church” (100) and has three small children at home, all of which support his innocent life style. Though there is not much information about Tom Robinson’s life provided by Lee save for during the trial, readers were certain of his true character when he felt “right sorry for [Mayella]” while watching her live the lifestyle of a poor white woman with no moral guidance. While it is understandable to believe in the pretense created by incorrect information, Lee tries to teach her readers to recognize how information can be warped when dealing with crimes that are circumstantial. Though we may hate the ones who provide false evidence towards incorrect ideas, the goal is to not make the same mistake the gossipers do by bearing false witness. Perhaps the town would not be able to look past Tom’s pretense of criminalistic behavior if there were none in the town who could model, but Lee has a few, including Atticus, that do. To Kill A Mockingbird is still read in today’s society to remind readers
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