Education In To Kill A Mockingbird

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Discuss the theme of education in To Kill a Mockingbird The theme of education is important in To Kill a Mockingbird for several reasons. Firstly, the inadequate schooling reveals the general decay in the south at the time. Secondly, the character of Atticus shows us a kind of ‘ideal educator’ who contrasts sharply with the representatives of state education. Thirdly, through education we see another aspect of the discrimination faced by black citizens. Finally, we understand through this novel that education is far more than just going to school. Lets deal first with the general problems of schooling at the time. Scout is a bright child with an enquiring mind. From the first day she enters school it becomes apparent that this is going to cause problems for her. The approach to education is a kind of ‘one size fits all’ method in which the child is expected to be passive. Scout has already been taught to read by her father and the teacher, Miss Caroline is upset about that, thinking it extremely inappropriate. The teacher introduces her new method, ‘The Dewey Decimal system’ without really considering whether it will work for these children in this particular school. She is very confident that she knows best- certainly better than the parents and children. She punishes Scout for not conforming to her idea of what a little girl should be like on her first day at school. The early school years are portrayed as a complete waste of time. Jem only starts to enjoy school much later ( 6th grade) when some interesting topics are taught. Scout continues to dislike school and doesn’t seem to benefit from it at all. Now we shall consider the character of Atticus. He accepts that he has to operate ‘within the system’ even though he doesn’t like the approach taken by the school. It is interesting that as an educated parent, he does not try to approach
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