Mockingbird: Parent Contrast Essay

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Typically, parents in literature are static characters in the background. The Bell Jar, Ester’s mother just pays her hospital bills and in Harry Potter, his parents are dead. In To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, parents have a more proactive role in the lives of their children, each imprinting their positive and negatives behaviors upon their children. Atticus Finch had a very unique parenting style, considering that this was the Depression Era rural south. He often treated his children–Jem and Scout–like adults, inviting them to think for themselves but answering questions with more questions. The impact this has on his children is that they become independent thinkers. Scout often questions the norm, which is unusual for anyone–especially a girl–during this time period. On the other end of the spectrum of parents, there is Bob Ewell. The Ewell’s are regarded as the town pariah. They don’t attend elementary school, they have awful hygiene, and are known to cause trouble. This can be accredited to Bob Ewell’s abusive personality and love for the bottle. His daughter Mayella has both been sexually and physically abused by him. In essence, his parenting style is to ignore his children unless he wants to abuse them. The parent in To Kill A Mockingbird that most closely resembles the parents we’d see today is Walter Cunningham. Cunningham is a hard working, poor farmer. He’s taught his children about hard work and seems loving, but there is an incident where he leads a mob to lynch Tom Robinson at the jailhouse. He’s eventually convinced by Scout to not lynch Robinson, because Cunningham has a responsibility to his children. He’s a perfect example of a mostly good parent that does have his flaws. In this way, he is the most like a real parent. To Kill A Mockingbird does a great job of illustrating the diversity among parents and parenting styles. We have the
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