To Kill A Mockingbird Theme: Lessons Learnt – Chapter 3 April 28, 2009Posted by KJ theBookGirl in Analyse, book, GCSE, History, KJ, theBookGirl.
Tags: Analysis, book, English Literature, GCSE, Lessons learnt, review, Revision, South America, theBookGirl, Themes, TKAMB, To Kill a Mockingbird
Chapter three starts with Scout learning from Jem that she shouldn’t pick fights with people smaller than her, no matter what has provoked them “Let him go, Scout” this shows Jem’s authority and role of teacher and role model when Atticus is not present.
Scout therefore learns about consequences of her actions and that she should not harm others. She learns this in Jem inviting Walter Cunningham home for lunch in order to make up for the fight and to help him where he would otherwise go hungry, teaching Scout about being charitable whilst allowing people to maintain their pride.
Scout also learns there are different things which people know and that people can be intellectual in many ways, “Atticus greeted Walter and began a discussion about crops that neither Jem nor I could follow” This shows that Scout is continuously learning, and still ignorant of much in the world.
The next lessons Scout learns is very significant – she learns that you should always respect everybody and their ways, even if you disagree with them.
“Walter poured syrup on his vegetables and meat with a generous hand. He proabably would have poured it into his milk glass had I not asked what the sam hill he was doing…he quickly put his hands in his lap. Then he ducked his head… it was then that Calpurnia requested my presence in the kitchen.”
This is the course of action which leads Scout to realise that what she has done is wrong, and to understand the lesson.
” ‘He ain’t company, Cal, he’s just a Cunningham -‘
‘Hush your mouth. Don’t matter who they are…'”
This conversation/correction is the lesson which Scout learns, and is present throughout the book. IT doesn’t matter that Tom Robinson is black, or a lower class citizen or does things differently. He’s still a human living in the same time and place as Scout and the community she lives in, and that’s enough to qualify him for equality. Or at least this is what Atticus and the more moral citizens believe.
“Calpurnia sent me through the swinging door to the dining room with a stinging smack”
This is the consequence of Scout’s actions, and Cal’s way of ensuring she learns from it and doesn’t act so disgracefully again.
Scout then learns that Cal has much more authority than she has, and that her father is an united front with the servant.
“I…suggested that Atticus lose no time in packing her off. …Atticus’s voice was flinty. ‘I’ve no intention of getting rid of her now, or ever.We couldn’t operate a single day without Cal”
This allows the reader to notice that Atticus is equal to all, whether they work for him, or are his family, whether they are black or white. It also teaches Scout that she is not in a position to treat anyone badly, especially not the ones trying to teach her and bring her up properly.
A lesson which the reader sees demonstrated through the eyes of Scout, is that money does not qualify somebody to be desirable company.
“Little Chuck Little…didn’t know where his next meal was coming, but he was born a gentleman”
This display of manners is something which all people should aspire to possess, but is something which precious few of the character sin this book do have, and the majority of the people who DO have them are the younger generation, perhaps indicating that the jury of Robinson’s case may not have succeeded, but jurys of the future will be much more open minded.
Scout now learns that although she has flaws, her family -Atticus, Jem and Cal – all appreciate her and love her.
“Calpurnia bent down and kissed me”
This display of emotion allows Scout to remember that although things can be tough, she always has her family there to help her. This is the total opposite with the Ewell’s where the father spends his time drinking, Mayella has to be the mother figure, and none of the children get education, help, care, love or even adequet food. This may be one of the main factors which leads Mayella to cause so much trouble for Tom Robinson. She is lonely, where Scout can never be.
The next lesson learnt is arguably the key lesson in the entire book.
“You never really understand a person until you see things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”
This lesson is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and this use of apathy is what makes Atticus such a great lawyer, and what has, arguably, taught generations to acept others because they could be the same position. It teaches Scout to look past the surface and really understand who the person is and what they really are.
Scout learns next that there are people who aren’t nice,
“They were people, but they lived like animals”
This shows how people, like the Ewells, can have the opportunity to be equals in society – they are white and they have land – but they do not appreciate this and therefore should be outcasts in society. However they are still above the black community and are given special priveleges instead (they’re allowed to hunt game off season and the children only have to go to school the first day of every year, but they still get the opportunity to, unlike the black children).
Scout now learns what a compromise is,
“And agreement reached by mutual concessions… if you’ll…go to school, we’ll go on reading”
This compromise allows Scout to enjoy her hobbies, as well as teach her that although she can’t always get her way there is always something she can do to make it better.
Finally Scout learns that ignoring people can be the solution to the problem,
“Atticus said that if I paid no attention to him, Jem would come down. Atticus was right.”
This shows that Scout is slowly growing up and learning how to get along with other people. She also learns that Atticus ios wise, and his intelligence foreshadows how his morals will be right for the majority of the novel.
That’s all for chapter 3, and chapter 4 will be coming very soon.