Satire about education found in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Author Harper Lee takes many jabs at public education in her novel. Atticus, the wisest and most intelligent man in Maycomb, never attended grade school, being educated at home. Scout's first grade teacher, Miss Caroline Fisher, is a overly-dressed beauty-She looked and smelled like a peppermint drop. She boarded... in Miss Maudie's upstairs front room, and when Miss Maudie introduced us to her, Jem was in a haze for days.

but her college education has not prepared her for the small town life found in Maycomb, nor the poor, unsophisticated children who live there. Miss Caroline is an outsider from dreaded Winston County in North Alabama, and she immediately mistakes Scout's intelligence and advanced reading skills for having been taught improperly by Atticus, who allowed Scout's "wallowing illicitly in the daily papers." Miss Caroline's good intentions all backfire on the first day of school, culminating in her discovery of lice in Burris Ewell's hair and his proclamation that she is a "snot-nosed slut of a schoolteacher." Miss Caroline is left in tears, having to be encouraged by the rest of her first graders to get back to the business of teaching. Lee's deliberate misidentification of Jem's pronouncement of the Dewey Decimal System as a new and progressive form of teaching is another example of her disdain for modern education. (The Dewey Decimal System, founded by Melvil Dewey, is a library identification method; Miss Caroline's new strategies are actually part of John Dewey's educational reforms that were popular during the 1930s.)Scout's third grade teacher, Miss Gates, proves to be a hypocritical racist, denouncing Adolf Hitler for his treatment of the Jews while personally believing in the suppression of Maycomb's African-American citizens. Lee projects an attitude that formal schooling is actually a detriment and a waste of time: Children can learn more from their worldly experiences than from the time spent in a classroom. Tom Robinson, Boo Radley and Mayella as mockingbirds (add Jem) In Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch gives him son, Jem, instructions regarding his use of the air
Atticus said to Jem one day, 'I'd rather you shoot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.' That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. 'Your father's right,' she said. 'Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

Put simply, Atticus does not want Jem to to kill an animal that does no one any harm. Through their innocent songs and presence, mockingbirds bring beauty to their surroundings. Mockingbirds are symbolic of Tom Robinson, Mayella Ewell, and Boo Radley because each of the three characters is innocent of any real wrongdoing. Each of the three brings a sort of beauty to the town of Maycomb. Tom Robinson's kindness and willingness to help Mayella out of the goodness of his own heart are beautiful; Mayella Ewell brings beauty to the horrible conditions in which she must live by planting flowers, as well as by attempting to find love (although horrible consequences); Boo Radley's leaving the security of his home in order to protect the Finch children, as well as his childlike innocence, are beautiful. The society of Maycomb refuses, in many instances, to recognize the loveliness to be found in Boo, Mayella, and Tom; instead, each is chastised in some way and to some degree.

" He was a kind and giving man.) Poor Southerners are considered beneath the many of the characters. Miss Gates and the Cunninghams. and for the most part. Racism is rampant in Maycomb: The Ewells are the most obvious example. the middle class society of Maycomb also show a wide variety of behavior. His career dominated his time (by necessity). During a time period where the parenting often fell to either the mother or to a member of hired help. who encouraged his children to view human beings equally and to treat them as such. and they become the innocent victims of a murderous attack by Bob Ewell. Atticus teaches his children the importance of education (even though he did not go to school himself). Harper Lee quietly shows how women play a second-class role to their male counterparts. Children are also criticized (Mr. and that a humble and peaceful nature is preferable to physical violence. who risks his own life to protect Jem and Scout. The many different groups are expected to display specific behaviors. KNOWLEDGE/IGNORANCE." The least likely character to display heroism is Boo Radley. the supposed purveyors of knowledge. He teaches Scout not to use the "N" word. and they gain respect for the African-American community of Maycomb in the process. Mr. Most of the whte characters in the novel seem to show the typical racial prejudice against blacks. and Jem and Scout bear witness to the good aspects of their father even when they think he is "feeble. and Negroes." USE OF PROPRIETY/ SOCIETY Harper Lee identifies many different varieties of the social realm of 1930s Maycomb in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird. There are obviously distinct differences between the three primary groups discussed: middle class whites. but many of them also display hatred and/or disillusionment toward other groups as well. and teaches Jem about true courage. Mrs. There are obviously distinct differences between the three primary groups discussed: middle . Without a female influence in the family. Atticus "practiced what he preached. Merriweather. he teaches by example. but it is obvious in many characters. ATTICUS AS A PARENT Atticus was an effective parent because he lead by example. Avery even claims they are a type of jinx.THEMES: LOSS OF INNOCENCE. His humility is never more evident than when the children discover that he was once the "deadest shot" in the county." Harper Lee identifies many different varieties of the social realm of 1930s Maycomb in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird. while the Ewell family remains ignorant for their simple refusal to take advantage of free public education. Atticus and Mrs. Calpurnia offers the children a firm feminine side. who taunts Scout and then runs and hides behind Aunt Alexandra's skirt. However. of the need for tolerance when dealing with other people. COURAGE/COWARDICE. but where he was able. he is sensible enough to employ Calpurnia. Atticus makes do as well as he can as a single parent in To Kill a Mockingbird. they deduce the lies that are told to them by adults. Atticus teaches his children to "climb into his skin and walk around in it" before judging people. including Miss Stephanie. Many of the people of Maycomb fear Boo Radley and Dolphus Raymond because of their own ignorance and fear of the unknown. Avery displays prejudice against children. he gave of himself and his time freely and unconditionally to his children. experiencing many tribulations that children their age should never encounter. Yankees and even Alabamans from the northern part of the state are criticized by various characters. particulary Aunt Alexandra. sincere approach to rearing his children have made him one of the most admired fathers in American Literature. They are forced to deal with others' taunts about Atticus. are shown to be among the most ignorant people in town. Where many parents can "tell" their children how to behave and to treat others equally. PREJUDICE. Jews. Above all. lower class whites. but that he never bragged about it. Atticus had as active a role as possible in the raising of his children. Teachers. most of Maycomb doesn't exactly agree with Atticus' belief that there's only one type of folks: "Folks. and disregard his sister's advice to fire her. and most of the town believes that Boo is responsible for "Any stealthy small crimes committed in Maycomb" simply because of his rumored mental instability. Dubose show courage in different ways than the typical "idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. as is Scout's cousin Francis. Bob Ewell is the epitome of a coward. Aunt Alexandra. Jem and Scout are the human mockingbirds of the story. Good parenting is also portrayed in Atticus's dedication to his children as a single parent. His honest.

Most of the whte characters in the novel seem to show the typical racial prejudice against blacks. particulary Aunt Alexandra. the middle class society of Maycomb also show a wide variety of behavior. most of Maycomb doesn't exactly agree with Atticus' belief that there's only one type of folks: "Folks. but many of them also display hatred and/or disillusionment toward other groups as well. The many different groups are expected to display specific behaviors. and for the most part.) Poor Southerners are considered beneath the many of the characters. Jews. Avery even claims they are a type of jinx.class whites. Children are also criticized (Mr. and Negroes. Yankees and even Alabamans from the northern part of the state are criticized by various characters. Harper Lee quietly shows how women play a second-class role to their male counterparts. lower class whites. However." .

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