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The Narrator Debate: To Kill A Mockingbird Essay

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Paul Simon, the musician, once said, “If you can get humor and seriousness at the same time, [you have] created a special little thing, and [that is] what [I am] looking for, because if you get pompous, you lose everything” (Simon 1). Racism in the 1930s and until the 1960s was a very serious issue. As stated, authors have taken this serious issue and turned it into great pieces of literature. Many of them have truly shown the seriousness of racism in society. Even though, criticism, as always, continues. Some critics have argued that Scout, in To Kill A Mockingbird, is an unreliable narrator. This is simply because Scout is a child. They suspect she is too innocent, naïve, and has an unbiased view. However, Scout as the narrator is a reliable choice because she allows the reader to concentrate more on the exterior of situations, she allows the reader to make his/her opinion, and she gives the reader direction of how to cover events and certain actions in the novel. Scout, as a child narrator, helps the reader ‘read between the lines’.
First of all, Scout allows the reader to focus more on the exterior of situations. Children tend to experience things differently from others. Events that take place in society may be of great importance to adults and mean nothing to children. Things of importance differ between children and adults. However, sometimes a child’s perspective may be the best way to look at things. In To Kill A Mockingbird, the whole town was talking about Tom Robinson’s trial, especially since he was African American and Atticus, a white man, was to be his lawyer. According to reviewer Edwin Bruell in Racism in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, “[To Kill A] Mockingbird, he tells us, is about the townspeople, not abou...


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... To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Warner Books, 1982.
Mancini, Candice. Racism in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Farmington Hills: Christine Nasso, 2008. Social Issues in Literature. Print.
Murray, Jennifer. "More Than One Way to (Mis)Read a Mockingbird." The Southern Literary Journal 43.1 (2010): 75+. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.
Simon, Paul. Brainy Quote. Xplore, 2013. Web. 17 Dec. 2013.
Joyce Moss and George Wilson. "To Kill a Mockingbird." Literature and Its Times: Profiles of 300 Notable Literary Works and the Historical Events that Influenced Them. Vol. 3: Growth of Empires to the Great Depression (1890-1930s). Detroit: Gale, 1997. 390-396. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.
Wilson, Charles E., Jr. Race and Racism in Literature. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005. Exploring Social Issues Through Literature. Print.



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