To Kill A Mockingbird: Childhood Experience


Have you ever thought of an answer to reply to your children, when they
ask you, “What was the world like when you were a child?”, “What things that
happened that impressed you most when you were a child?” or “How interesting is
your childhood experience?”. Everybody must have had their childhood. Some of
the experiences may cause them to smile, or even laugh, while some of them may
bring back bitter memories. It is always hard to express the childhood
incidents or experience in a clear and interesting way, since they were past
memories that happened long time ago. Moreover, when a person has grown up,
they will never have the same feeling which they might have in their childhood.
However, the authors Harper Lee and Mark Twain can express their own childhood
inside the stories they created, in a lively and realistic way. The two novels
To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer have a very similar
characteristic. It is the way they describe a person\'s childhood experience,
and their feelings and new knowledge that come out from those experiences. This
characteristic, however, has given me a big revelation after reading the two
novels. The novels show that the childhood experience of a person has a great
positive influence on his personality, behaviour, and ways on dealing with
others. This idea has been shown by the authors in both novels.

From the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, one could discover that innocent
behaviour and misunderstanding can lead a child to view a person or thing
incorrectly and incompletely. This behaviour can also lead a child to a wrong
perspective. In the first part of To Kill a Mockingbird, the main characters
Scout, Jem, and Dill thought that the Radley family and their member, Boo Radley,
as strange and unnatural human beings. They described Radley\'s house as “That
is a sad house....” (Harper Lee, 48). This is a “fact” they heard from their
neighbours. Until one day, their neighbour Miss Maudie\'s house was found on
fire. While Scout was standing outside in the cold watching the fire, someone
from behind her and put a blanket around her shoulders. Later, Scout and Jem
realized that there was only one person in town who had not fought to put out
the fire -- Boo Radley. Scout asked, “Thank who?”(Harper Lee, 76). Jem replied,
“Boo Radley. You were so busy looking at the fire you didn\'t know it when he put
the blanket around you.”(Harper Lee, 76) It was then that Scout and Jem started
to realize that Boo Radley was basically a kind and normal person, and that he
was not a strange person as they thought at the beginning of the story. This
incident proves that misunderstanding can bring a child into wrong perspectives,
and that experience through time helps to solve the problem. There is also
another proof from the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In the story, the
main character, Tom Sawyer, thought that school was a restriction to him and
therefore he decided to skip school and found his “world of freedom” from the
forest and rivers. His aunt, Polly said, “Didn\'t you want to go in a-swimming,
Tom?” (Mark Twain, 13) Afterwards, Aunt Polly tried to punish him for skipping
school by ordering him to wash a long, huge fence. However, this did not have
any effect on Tom. He continued to do what he thought was “right” -- skips
classes. He did not seem to care why his aunt Polly punished him. This is,
once again, another example to show how innocent behaviour can lead a child to
have wrong perspective and behaviour.

Although it has been said that innocent behaviour usually leads a child
into the wrong path, there are still some exceptions. Having said that, it
should be remembered that the nature of a child really helps to develop his or
her own positive personality and behaviour, together with their childhood
experience. For example, in To Kill a Mockingbird, the character Scout, was a
smart and clever girl. However, she did not get any close friends other than
her new friend Dill and her brother Jem, as seen from the story. From the scene
where Scout argued and embarrassed Mr. Cunningham, her friend Walter
Cunningham\'s father, dissuading him from trying to kill Tom Robinson, one can
discover her talent in speaking and arguing with people. She said, “Hey, Mr.
Cunningham, how\'s your entailment gettin\' along?” (Harper Lee, 155), reminding
Mr. Cunningham that Scout\'s father, Atticus, had once helped him with legal
problems. Scout continued to