Essay, Research Paper: To Kill A Mocking Bird And Parents

Literature: To Kill a Mockingbird

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Parenting is an act of being a parent, which means you show love and care
towards your offspring. Harper lee’s book To Kill A Mockingbird, shows the
difference in parenting of the characters Bob Ewell and Atticus Finch. Some ways
these two characters are different is depicted in this essay by: showing the
difference in the hygiene of themselves and their children, their lifestyles,
their community acceptance, and their morals and values. Atticus Finch and Bob
Ewell are diversified in many ways in this novel that is why I chose to contrast
them. The first difference between Atticus and Bob is themselves and their
children’s hygiene. Bob Ewell’s child Burris was a very defiled child, “he
had a dark gray neck, the backs of his hands were rusty, and his fingernails
were black deep into the quick” (Lee 27). Burris was instructed by the teacher
to leave early to “wash you hair with lye soap. When you’ve done that, treat
your scalp with kerosene” (Lee 26). Burris was angered by this remark
responding, “You ain’t sendin’ me home missus” (Lee 27), this displayed
a sort of defensive side to the kids due to their dads lack of parenting they
have to fend for themselves in a cruel insecure world for a child his age. Scout
and Jem were well-groomed children no soiled clothes or face were kept on them
for a long time like Burris. The next disparate characteristic is that of their
lifestyles. The Ewells lived behind the town garbage dump in what was once a
Negro’s cabin. “No economic flatuatuion change their status” (Lee170). The
cabin’s plank walls were supplemented with sheets of corrugated iron, its roof
shingled with tin cans hammered flat, so only its general shape suggested its
original diamond. “The varmints had a lean time of it, the Ewells gave the
dump a thorough gleaning every day, and the fruits of their industry made the
plot of ground around the cabin look like the playhouse of an insane child”
(Lee 170). “Nobody was quite sure how many children were on the place” (Lee
171), showing their lifestyle to be so corrupt that nobody really wanted to go
to the dump to see who or what was there. Atticus, Calpurnia, (the housekeeper),
scout, and Jem lived on the main residential street in town. Atticus had enough
to support his family since he was “admitted to the bar and returned to
Maycomb and began his practice” (Lee 4), and also to make a living. The next
polarity between Bob and Atticus is their community acceptance. Bob Ewell was
considered as a “guest of the county in prosperity as well as in the depths of
a depression” (Lee 170). The Ewells were not liked by many due to their
grotesque decorum, and their unhealthy habits. “no public health officer could
free them from congenital diseases” (Lee 170). “He (Atticus) like Maycomb,
he was Maycomb county born and bred” (Lee 5). The community accepted Atticus
with great reverence with him being a lawyer for them, ready to serve and
protect them when justification was needed in their life. “he knew his people,
they knew him, and because of Simon Finch’s industry, Atticus was related by
blood or marriage to nearly every family in the town” (Lee 5). The last
contrast that I am going to relate, are Bob and Atticus’s views of morals and
values. Bob Ewell was very much a prejudice against blacks; his accusation led
to the Tom Robinson trial, of course blaming a black. Bob Ewell doesn’t very
righteous fatherly morals/values, due to the fact that “They (his kids)
didn’t have to go to school, for one thing” (Lee 31), showing he really
didn’t care that much. Atticus had virtuous morals/values, he, even though
assigned, took the Tom Robinson case, even though he knew he was going to be
scandalized for it. “You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do
one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head up high…” (Lee 76).
Atticus showed that he doesn’t want to have this bother his children as
Atticus says in the book, “I’m simply defending a Negro-his name’s Tom
Robinson… cal knows his family well. She says they’re clean-living folks”
(Lee 75). Also, Atticus brings up another good moral/value. In the gift-giving
process, Atticus gives Jem and Scout air-rifles and tells them to “kill all
the bluejays you want, if you can hit’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a
mockingbird” (Lee 90). This shows that Atticus realizes that even though
it’s a bird, which are classified as pesky, it doesn’t endanger our lives,
so we should not endanger its. Bob Ewell and Atticus Finch are contrastable in
so many ways. Their ways of life were incomparable, Bob being one for laziness
and Atticus the one to stand up for what is right. Atticus was a very
kind-hearted soul and in the end his justice was served. This shows how totally
grotesque someone can be and still defeat good, but you will soon learn towards
the end that all good conquers all. This book really touched a lot on good
conquering all in the Boo Radley situation and in the trial/death of Bob Ewell.
1. Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott Company. 1960.
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