Loss Of Innocence In To Kill A Mockingbird

Great Essays
Innocence is most commonly defined as ‘freedom from sin, moral wrong, or guilt through lack of knowledge of evil’. When comparing this definition to the characters of Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, it becomes clear that the loss of innocence is a central theme and is pivotal to character development. Some of the key characters who have lost their innocence are Jem Finch and his sister Scout , Arthur (Boo) Radley and Mayella Ewell. This collection of characters is unique, as they all of them are extremely different from one another. Due to the fact that the novel was written in the first person view of a child, the audience is given a deeper connection with the loss of innocence, whilst becoming witness to how the four characters …show more content…
However, this innocence was taken away from him mainly because of Tom Robinson’s trial, due to the fact that he was deeply immersed into it, believing that there was no possible way that Tom could be found guilty. When Tom inevitably loses the trial due to the fact that he was a ‘Negro’, Jem was understandably crushed and bitter about the trial. “It was Jem’s turn to cry. His face was streaked with angry tears as we made our way through the cheerful crowd. ‘It ain’t right,’ he muttered, all the way to the corner of the square where we found Atticus waiting.” (Pg. 212) After the events of the trial, the audience witness Jem grow as a character and start to lose his childish innocence, leading to him developing a deeper understanding of how terrible many people of Maycomb were. “I think I 'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley 's stayed shut up in the house all this time . . . it 's because he wants to stay inside." (Pg. 227) This quote was another piece of evidence of Jem losing his innocence, as he starts to learn the hardships and the unfairness of life. Though not explored deeply in the book for his character, another reason for his loss of innocence can also be attributed to him being a victim of violence, as he and his sister were ambushed by Mr. Ewell. As a result, some physical and psychological damage occurred to both children, ultimately leading to Jem and Scout losing their …show more content…
He was seen as a man devoid of innocence. This, for the most part was incorrect. It was correct to say that Boo was a man devoid of innocence, as he lost his innocence in a series of events in his teenage years. The first step being when he became involved with the ‘wrong crowd’ and pulled youthful pranks. While the other boys were sent to boarding school as punishment, Boo’s father kept him at home, which could be considered worse than the school. Upset with his treatment, he stabbed his father in the leg with a pair of scissors, which was another step. As a result of his actions, Boo was confined. “The sheriff hadn’t the heart to put him in the jail alongside Negroes, so Boo was locked in the courthouse basement.” (Pg. 11). This inhumane act was quite possibly the final step for Boo to lose his innocence, as the following quote describes that the conditions were quite dreadful, which would be enough for anyone to lose their innocence. “Miss Stephanie Crawford said some of the town council told Mr. Radley that if he didn’t take Boo back, Boo would die of mould from the damp.” (Pg. 11) The fact that after this event, he became reclusive and isolated shows that his conditions were not much better back in his own home, which could have easily resulted in many mental illnesses. However, despite these adversities, Boo still

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