Journal Entry #4 – Character’s Responses Influencing Our Choices

 

          A main theme in To Kill a Mockingbird is struggle, problems, and overcoming those problems. A main problem in To Kill a Mockingbird is of overcoming racism and stereotypes during the Tom Robinson case, and Scout’s problem of growing up during the Jim Crow laws, where racism is something taught to children. Many families are shown to have surrendered to this, believing that blacks were superior. But Atticus, even though frowned upon by his one family, has ignored these stereotypes, and taught Jem and Scout to do the same. We are also faced with the problem of gender roles and expectations in the book. Scout is a tomboy during a time when women were supposed to be lady-like, but Scout did not desire this. She was different. Another problem that is discussed in the book is a division between the high class and low class. Yet even with all of these problems, Atticus manages to remain respectful of all, and understands where people are coming from.

          Scout and Jem are raised in the Jim Crow laws. During this time, blacks were viewed as inferior. This is demonstrated in the Tom Robinson case. Firstly, a group of men attempted to lynch Tom Robinson, only to be stopped by Atticus. Later, in court, Atticus presents perfect evidence on why Tom Robinson was innocent, yet because of the time, he was determined to be guilty. This is one of the problems that Jem and Scout face growing up. Atticus’ is morals are perfect while dealing with this racism. He understands what was right and what was wrong, and he knows how to respect others. We should strive to take such an action when it comes to racism. Racism is becoming a large issue once again, and Atticus shows us the proper way to deal with racism. His ideals and way of showing those ideals is very good.

          Scout was a tomboy when the expectations of a lady is to not do boy stuff, not to play outside and get dirty; she was the opposite of what she was supposed to be. Aunt Alexandra is a leader in trying to make Scout more ladylike. But once again, Atticus is fighting back against another stereotype. He lets Scout play with Dill and Jem, and does not force her to stay inside with Aunt Alexandra.

          The class system has been a problem that has been around for a long time. It is something that is prominent in the text. There’s a social hierarchy in Maycomb County. It is something that is shown in the Cunningham’s life. They are forced to pay Atticus with goods, not money, because they do not have enough money to pay for his services. Atticus shows us how we should act when someone is not as wealthy as us. Atticus allows Walter Cunningham to pay him with the goods from Walter’s farm. 

Atticus is a someone with good ethics and morals. He does his job, ignoring racial and gender stereotypes and expectations, yet not being rude in explaining his thoughts or his morals. We should model our life after Atticus. To Kill a Mockingbird also shows us what not to be: someone who views there opinions as 100% right. Someone who does not use stereotypes and racism to break people down and view yourself as superior. And someone who respects others choices on what they believe is right.

 

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To Kill A Mockingbird – Journal Entry #1

 

The book To Kill a Mockingbird  is a book that has been banned many times. Recently, it was banned in the Biloxi school district in Mississippi, United States. People believe that the book uses the N-word to many times. It also uses words such as colored, Negro, black, and colored. They are all put under the same category: a way to describe people of black skin in the deep south before the civil rights movement. But this is just a myth. All of these words mean different things, with different origins and meanings.

 

The words “black” and “colored” are often referred to as the same thing. A person of black skin. But this is not the truth. The word “colored” means someone who is not white, or a mix between European (white) and African (black) descent. The word black is a word to describe people of African descent. Both words were used in a derogatory manner. During the civil rights movement in the United States, the word “colored” was used to segregate whites from nearly everyone else. At the peak of discrimination during this time, colored referred to anyone who was not white. Jews, Latinos, and people of African descent were all considered part of this same group of” colored people.” As of right now, the word “colored” is a socially unacceptable word that reminds us of the time of discrimination.

 

The word nigger and the word nigga are commonly mistaken to mean the same thing, but they very much do not mean the same thing. The word nigger began in the Atlantic slave trade era of the 1800s. It was a derogatory way to describe blacks and their own slaves. It was most commonly used however in the South of the United States, before the Civil Rights Movement. It meant the same thing, except that the blacks were not slaves. It was a way to dehumanize the blacks, to describe how unimportant the blacks were in the country.  This is why, as shown in the book, when people describe Atticus as a quote, “nigger-lover,” is meant to be a disgusting way to describe someone who favors a less important group, trying to dehumanize both the group and the person defending the group. This is why many people refused to help these “niggers.”

 

The word nigga is used primarily in slang, a way blacks take back the word. It is also used by many rappers. The context of the word is the reason why blacks use the word, and why whites should never use the word. It comes from the word nigger. Blacks are taking back the word.

 

The word Negro used to be a very polite way to describe someone of black origin. At one point, up to the 1970s, blacks called themselves Negros. People of a mix between blacks and Native Americans were also called Negros. But in 1966, the black power movement looked into the history of the word. It used to represent the mentality of master to slave relationship between blacks and whites of the Atlantic slave trade. They officially decided to not use the word.

 

The word black is now the most respected way to call someone  of African descent. It has nearly always been this way. The word black was a way to keep them of less importance, but to humanize people. It is the most socially respected way to call some of African descent today.  This is similar to the word African-American. The word African-American is a way to describe of mixed between European and African.

 

This is why the book To Kill a Mockingbird uses these same words throughout the book. These words are used by Harper Lee in the book to describe the prejudice and the white supremacist feel in the South. Many of these words are used to dehumanize blacks, and they were most often used in the Jim Crow United States South. She uses the words to show the historical importance of the word, and also shows what kind of father Atticus was for her.

Maycomb County – What is it Based Off? Journal Entry #2

Image result for monroeville alabamaI have a family full of readers and writers. My mom, who is an English teacher, loves the book To Kill a Mockingbird. And I always wondered; “What is Maycomb County is based off? Is it a real place, or just a fictional location imagined in the head of Harper Lee?” Why did she choose to make it the way she did?  

 

Monroeville is the town that Maycomb County in To Kill a Mockingbird, is based off. It is the town that the author of the book, Harper Lee, grew up, and that the protagonist in the book, Scout, also grew up in. Monroeville, also like Maycomb County, is a small town in Alabama. It, as of right now, contains 7,000 people. It has around 3 thousand houses. It

 

The area where Monroeville is located has been around for centuries. The area was used as a town while the Spanish were there, before the town was sold. It is named after Secretary of State James Monroe, who was the man that finally negotiated the purchase of this area. The first time the English owned the area was in 1831.

 

The first settler to live in the area was Major Walker. The town was known as Walter’s Mill because of him. He first moved to Monroeville in the year 1831. The town slowly grew throughout the time before the Great Depression. The town’s airport was built in 1928 was used throughout World War 2. As of right now, Monroeville main jobs are in the manufacturing business, with 25% of the population working in manufacturing. Before manufacturing became very popular in Monroeville, it was a mainly agricultural town. Characters such as Walter, from the book, was a representation of how life was for farmers in the town. A tough life, not a lot of money to go around.

 

Harper Lee was born in Monroeville on April 28, 1926. She lived in Monroeville during the Great Depression, the same time period Scout lives in. Everything in Harper Lee’s book, To Kill a Mockingbird, is based off her experiences in the book. How there was no access to money, nothing to do. Character such as  Dill and Boo Radley were all based of real people. Dill was based on Truman Capote, a fellow writer and friend of Harper Lee. Boo Radley, or Arthur Radley, was based off a man named Son Boulware. Everything written in the book was affected by Monroeville effect on Harper Lee.

 

Overall, I can understand why Harper Lee wrote the book the way she did. She based it off her life experience in Monroeville. She based the characters from friends or people in Monroeville. And most importantly, she based her entire setting based on her life in Monroeville.

Jim Crow Laws During the Great Depression. Journal Entry #3

 

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The Great Depression was a terrible time in the history of the United States. It was time of economical despair. The Jim Crow laws was the worst civil rights violation that did not truly involve slavery. It lasted nearly 75 years, and during that period, these two occurrences ripped apart the deep South of the United States. The Jim Crow Laws and the Great Depression caused some terrible things. This theme is shown deeply in To Kill a Mockingbird, and in real life.

 

The Jim Crow Laws were a set of laws that allowed segregation between blacks and whites, with whites always getting the better end of the deal. These laws were only enacted in the South of the United States. They were used to take away privileges from blacks, such as voting privileges and better facilities for whites. It was first enacted in 1887, and was finally finished during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s. The facilities, in theory, were supposed to be equal, but that was not the case. Whites got considerably better facilities, and the blacks got much worse facilities.

 

The name Jim Crow came from a created character by Americans. He was a dumb, clumsy, and dimwitted black slave, used to enforce these laws.

 

The Jim Crow laws enforced the “American Way of Life:” liberty,, life, and pursuit of happiness. It was just for whites however. The Jim Crow Laws were similar to Hitler’s ‘Master Race.’ They believed that blacks were worse than whites, that they were dumber than whites.

 

The purpose was separation of blacks and whites. Facilities were supposed to be equal, but that never happened. White supremacy was prominent during the time. It was “fair,” but morally incorrect.

 

It was toughest on blacks who lived during the time. Harper Lee shows this beautifully in To Kill a Mockingbird. She shows us the struggle that is needed to survive as a black in the 1930s. Calpurnia, one of the more well-educated blacks in Maycomb County helped the Finches as a cook. It was impossible for any black to get better opportunities than a farm hand, cook, or maid. As shown in Calpurnia’s church, where they do not have enough money to by hymnals, and even if they did, only three or four of them could actually read. It was an overall struggle to live as a black in the Jim Crow Laws.

Writing in a Different Perspective

 

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In chapter 15 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus travels to the county jail to protect Tom Robinson. The chapters unfolds from the shocked and confused Scout. This leaves us wondering: “What did we miss out on?””What was no described in depth?””What might we need more information on?” This is all caused by our understanding that Scout is not a reliable narrator. We want to know more about how the scenario would unfold if it was told by the perspective of someone else. That person in specific is Walter Cunningham, the father of also named Walter Cunningham in Scout’s class. He was supposed leader of the group. This is what I think he would have felt like if he was the narrator of this certain chapter.

We are on our way to the Maycomb County jail, where we knew Tom Robinson was moved yesterday. I don’t want him to be seen in court, and, truthfully, I didn’t want him to be alive. We are driving in the cover of night, everyone would be asleep in this little town. We had sent old and gullible Sheriff Heck Tate of on a snipe hunt in the woods, we knew he wouldn’t be any worry to us. I am so conflicted however. I don’t want to see Tom Robinson alive, but his lawyer Mr. Atticus Finch. He was doing my entailment. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

My group and I arrived at the county jail when I noticed something peculiar. One solid light, blazing in the otherwise darkened night sky. I knew exactly who it was; Mr. Finch. He had known what were going to do the entire time. But I did not care. Either way, we were going to get Tom Robinson out and kill him. We could not leave him. My group and I got out of our four, dusty old cars and walked towards the county jail. We were not worried about the mission being a failure. I was confident this lynching would go smoothly.

When we got to the door, one of my accomplices asked,”He in there, Mr Finch. ” We waited in the for a little while for Atticus Finch to respond.

“He is,” replied Mr. Finch, “and he’s asleep. Don’t wake him.”

“You know what we want,” I said, in the sternest of voices I could muster, “Get aside from the door, Mr Finch.”

“You can turn around and go home again, Walter,” Mr. Finch said pleasantly. He seemed to be calm and not worried, “Heck Tate’s around somewhere.” I knew he had not expected us to send him into the woods. Another member responded angrily to Mr Finch’s positive statement.

“The hell he is. Heck’s bunch’s so deep in the woods they won’t get out till mornin’.”

“Indeed? Why so?”

“Called ’em off on a snipe hunt,” he responded, “Didn’t you think a’that, Mr. Finch.”

“Thought about it, but didn’t believe it. Well then, that changes things, doesn’t it?” I was upset. Mr. Finch had the nerve to remain sounding pleasant.

“It do.”responded someone in my crew. I didn’t know who have these people were, but we were going to kill Mr. Tom Robinson, if it was the last thing we did. However, I was beginning to feel more nervous. I did not know what I had gotten myself into.

“Do you really think so?” Mr. Finch responded, sounding fairly confident. It was bugging me how confident he was. But then I was shocked to hear a shriek, than I hear rustling and finally pumped into the light little Scout, Mr. Finch’s daughter. I knew who she was because my son Walter was in his class.

“H-ey Atticus” she said. I was shocked at this little girls crazy action. She looked at us, with large and confused eyes. It looked like she expected to see familiar faces, not us my gang and me. We were as equally confused as her; why would she put herself in such a dangerous position as this one. I was shocked.

“Go home, Jem.” Atticus stated, in a stern voice, “Take Scout and Dill home.”

This was not something Mr. Finch had expected. This was clearly not planned. Everyone, including Scout herself, was confused.

“Go home, I said.”

The young boy shook his head. This must have been Jem. My gang just watched, mouths wide open. Then, a man in our group walked towards him.

“I’ll send him home.” said the man. he grabbed Jem roughly from the collar, nearly yanking him straight of his feet.

“Don’t you touch him!” Scout screamed as she kicked at the man. He fell down in a heep in true pain. She had just executed a well placed-kick.

“That’ll do, Scout.” Mr. Finch put his hand on Scout’s shoulder. “Don’t kick folks. ” I was remembering what kind of man Mr. Atticus Finch was. He was calm and respectful.

“Ain’t nobody gonna do Jem that way.” Scout said, She was clearly upset. I actually found it kind of cute.

Another man in the group stepped forward, “All right Mr. Finch, get ’em outta here. You got fifteen seconds to get ’em outta here.”

Even after may attempts, Jem would not budge. Mr Finch tried desperately to persuade him to leave, but just shook his head and said no. I watched all three kids. ONe kid, another boy I did not recognize, stood in silence. Jem was talking to Mr. Finch, and the girl was looking around. Then I heard something.

“Hey Mr. Cunningham.” said Scout. I pretended not to hear her, even if I knew who she was. I would not respond.

“Hey Mr. Cunningham. Hows your entailment gettin’ along?” I decided to give her a little bit of attention, but I refused my natural instinct to respond.

“Don’t you remember me Mr. Cunningham? I’m Jean Louise Finch. You brought us some hickory nuts one time, remember?” She was hitting me hard. This hurt more than actually getting punched. I was so embarrassed. But I would not acknowledge her.

She continued to try to talk with me,”I go to school with Walter. He’s your boy, ain’t he? Ain’t he sir?” I was very embarrassed know. I no longer had the protection of being in the group. She had decided to single me out. I just gave her a faint nod.

“He’s in my grade,”she continued, “and he does right real well. He’s a good boy, a real nice boy. We brought him home for dinner one time. Maybe he told you about me, I beat him up once but he was real nice about it afterwards. Tell him hey for me, won’t you?” I refused to pay attention to what she was saying. I was trying to not look embarrassed, but I your were close to me, you could feel my embarrassment.  But she did not stop talking.

“Entailments are bad.” she said. She stopped, and looked around for a moment. I also looked around. Everyone’s mouth was wide open, shocked about what just took place. Finally, she asked,

“What’s the matter?” I was so shocked. I was trying so hard to not look embarrassed, but I was so embarrassed I could not live with myself. I bent down to tell her something.

“I’ll tell him you said hey, little lady.” I then stood up and declared to my group, “Let’s clear out. Let’s get going, boys.” I decided to leave because I was so embarrassed. She had taking me out of my comfort zone. She had separated me from the group. I could not live with myself. As I walked back to the cars, I was stunned, but mostly embarrassed.

 

 

 

Reader’s Response

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Atticus explains to Scout: “This time we aren’t fighting the Yankees, we’re fighting our friends. But remember this, no matter how bitter things get, they’re still our friends and this is still our home.”

Fights happen all of the time. Individually, I feel like fights most occur between friends, in small, little quarrels that tend to blow up. This is the reason that many fights between friends destroy relationships. Small little fights can blow up because people feel the need to have the last say, to always be right. This is one of the reason that fights between friends have the ability to blow up, ruin relationships, and cause enemies. Fights like this can be caused in many ways. A difference in opinions has caused many friends to become enemies. One of the most prominent examples in history is the American Civil War. Friends from the North and South became enemies because of each side’s ideals on slavery.

 

Atticus does not believe that the insults he receives are enough to end relationships and friendships because he does not take the insults to heart. He ignores them, brushing them off, understanding that they are just a symptom of the time he lives in, during the Jim Crow laws. He is also knows that even if people feel like he should not defend Tom Robinson in court, he knows that he has to. It is a lawyer’s job to do so, and he is respectful enough to know that he cannot decline this. He does not want to be a hypocrite.

I have not had any experiences of me finding anything my parents or siblings say disgusting or abhorrent. But if one of them did something like that, I would definitely have to be calm, and not strike immediately. This is the way to blow up a fight. You need to keep it calm, so that you do not cause and fight and so people can clearly understand your opinion. and where you are coming from.

Overall, fights are nearly impossible to avoid. Fights can be caused by the smallest of things and blow up to the largest of fights. This is why Atticus has prevented the smallest of insults to becoming large. He is respectful of others opinions, but he knows what is right for himself and his family.

 

Journal Entry One

Journal Entry Two 

Journal Entry Three