Matthew JoysonMr. HullPeriod 6 English22 November 2017Timeless Story Over 30 million copies of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee have been sold. This largely due to its relevance to humans and how we act in society.
The book exemplifies traits every human has or had within them that defines them. Harper Lee’s fictional town, Maycomb, is very specific in social order. Families are labeled and never change based on this. While we see this in families, it is specific to people too. In character Boo Radley, we see the outcast, misunderstood, mislabeled “monster”. Atticus displays traits of the perfect version of what a man should be like. Bob Ewell characterizes evil, relating his hatred to what he doesn’t like or understand.
This essay will analyze, in the story, what made these characters so relatable to the 1960’s society and who makes it up, all the way up to 2017. To begin, our first relatable archetype of Maycomb is Boo Radley. Boo represents the outcast of Maycomb. Many people tell stories about him, without ever meeting or even seeing him.
“As Mr. Radley passed by, Boo drove the scissors into his parent’s leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities.” (Lee 13). People fabricate stories to make fun of the helpless, and this is very exemplified by Boo in this whole story. This happened a lot in the 1960’s. People were judged and left to this judgement, no matter their feelings. People did this to create drama, explain what they couldn’t understand, and out of spite or to make themselves feel better. Another is example of this is the folklore about him, “Boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that’s why his hands were bloodstained.
” (Lee 16). Many people can also relate to the sense of being an outsider, or misunderstood. New kids at school, refugees, even bullied kids in school are all familiar with how Boo felt, and this resonated within them. Our second relatable archetype is Atticus. In the story Atticus gives off wisdom to many people, including the main protagonist, Scout. An example of this is in the story when, “‘I wish Bob Ewell wouldn’t chew tobacco.
‘ was all Atticus said about it.”(top of p. 291) This shows how respectable and mature Atticus is.
He doesn’t dignify Bob Ewell with a response and this is how a perfect man would act. They do not get angered by simple, irrelevant things. “Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with.
” (Pg. 292) Atticus likes to think about other people’s feelings too, and this is a sought after aspect foe everyone. Atticus takes a step back and notices how other people might or do feel before acting. He knows why Bob is doing what he does and feels sorry for him.
“I’d rather you shoot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” (119) To top it all off, Atticus is very caring.
Not only does he take great care in raising his children, he also doesn’t like hurt to harmless things. This characteristic was sought after by many people, in our times, and back then. To be the better man and think about other people first was the ideal idea of a man back then, and now. People strive to be the best they can, or at least help other people. When reading this book, people can look to Atticus as a role model, or even see themselves in him.
Our last relatable character is Bob Ewell. Bob was the most bad reputable man in Maycomb. He spent all his money on booze, abused his kids, and poached. “Mr. Bob Ewell stopped Atticus on the post office corner, spat in his face, and told him he’d get him if it took the rest of his life. “( Lee 290) Bob Ewell is the type of man that when his pride is hurt, he does the most dirty thing to get back at the person who hurt him.
This is because his pride is extremely important to him. This is true to many people back then and now. People will never admit they are just because of their pride. ‘All the way to the house, Helen said, she heard a soft voice behind her, crooning foul words.” ( Lee 334) Again, because of his pride, he harassed a woman just to get back at a man in jail. This shows just how low he is. “Ruth Jones, the welfare lady, said Mr.
Ewell openly accused Atticus of getting his job.” ( Lee 332) Again, as many people would, he stops at no point to consider how other people feel, and does what he wants and what makes him feel good. This selfishness is a big part of our culture. Many people back in the 1960’s and now do things that are very immoral for their own gain. Big tobacco business’s knew their products were extremely unhealthy to its consumers, but paid for studies to be done showing it is okay, or even healthy. This shows the selfishness of people to gain money.
In conclusion, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most revered books in our culture, simply because it is timeless. The characters in the book are so relatable to us and how we are now, because of the archetypes they are. We can all relate to being misjudged, or being the bigger person, or doing something only for your own gain. Its human nature, and that is exactly what we can gain from amazing books like these. We can understand our and others actions better through literature.