In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee, the theme of coming of age is explored through Scout’s various personal experience and lessons that she has accomplished in the novel. The first example that shows the coming of age of the protagonist Scout is when she discovers about inequality during her father’s trial. “‘Do you defend niggers, Atticus? ‘… ‘Then why did Cecil say you defended niggers? ‘ ‘The main one is if I didn’t I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature. ‘” Scout learns that there are different types of people in her world that are treated differently.
She finds it hard at first why her father is the only person defending a Negro, but later discovers through observation that people are equal and African-American should be treated fairly as the white people, so that another trial of Tom Robinson doesn’t happen again. Secondly, the theme of coming of age is discovered when she discovers the coexistence of good and evil. As Scout gets to know more about mysterious Boo Radley, she learns that innocent people are always getting hurt or destroyed by the evils. “‘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 . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. ” (94 Lee) Mockingbirds represent Boo Radley, Tom Robinson and other innocent people who are destroyed of evil. Scout learns that innocent or good people are misunderstood or treated poorly because they don’t have enough power to stand up, and because the evil people in town hurt them.
Lastly, the theme of coming of age is shown when Scout learns to understand people. Scout’s father Atticus explains to Scout that one does not truly understand a person “until [one] climbs into his skin and [walks] around in it. ” (p. 30) Scout’s father says this about Scout’s teacher when she complains about her. Scout understands that she needs to appreciate people for their good things, and also understand them for their evils, because she won’t be able to see things in their view.
In the end of the novel, Scout is at a point where she has matured a lot and had come of age more than many adults would do in their whole entire lifetime. Secondary exemplar: ‘To kill a Mockingbird’ written by Harper Lee can be related to another novel called ‘Catcher in the Rye’ written by J. D Salinger because they both share the same theme of coming of age. Catcher in the Rye is about a sixteen years old boy named Holden Caulfield who retells his inner struggles in New York.
Holden gets kicked out of school, and is stuck in a dilemma with his future, and stays in New York in attempt to figure out his journey and his future. Holden and Scout both go through series of realization and discovery although Holden experienced his in a shorter period of time than Scout. These are three of the experience Holden goes through in a development of coming of Age. Firstly, the theme of coming of age is shown in the book ‘Catcher in the Rye’ when Holden learns that he will change no matter what, and that he needs to deal with it.
The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move. . . . Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you. ” (121 Salinger) Holden knows that he is growing and all humans grow and that he needs to adapt to the changes that are occurring to him. Secondly, the theme of Coming of Age is shown in this book just like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ when Holden learns that he always has another chance to fix things up and start fresh. “Then finally, I found it. What is was, it was partly frozen and partly not frozen. This symbolizes the situation Holden is in, where he messed up in his life partly, but he has opportunities to fix things up, and go back. Holden learns that even though he flunked his school several times, he can persevere and study harder at another school.
Lastly, the theme of coming of age is explored in the novel as Holden suffers throughout the novel. “I have a feeling that you’re riding for some kind of terrible, terrible fall. . . . The whole arrangements designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn’t supply them with. . . So they gave up looking. ” (186 Salinger) Holden suffers emotionally. Just like the quote, he is going through a terrible fall or a meltdown, and he is told that he needs to realize his conflicts and fix it, or he will fall apart. ‘To kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ are both written in 1st person to show thorough view of the protagonists’ points and their ways of thinking. Also, they both deal with the inner struggle or realization that they go through or accomplish and end with a conclusion where both characters have matured and grown.