To Kill a Mockingbird "Point of View" Assignment by Kayla Yellen

Entry One: The questioning of Mayella Ewell

Point of View: Mayella

The Judge speaks. His words are strong but I hear them as if I am on the other side of a wall. Muffled. Everything is masked by my own anxiety. Every question I feel myself reaching out for help but I can’t find it. This is my fault. Everything is my fault. My Papa didn’t raise me to go an’ kiss a black man, but I did. Now I hafta pay. I shouldn’ done it. It ain’t like I wanna kill Tom but I'd rather him dead than me. I turn my attention to Atticus Finch, the cocky old weasel who keeps throwing’ questions at me and taunting’ me. “Do you remember him beating you about the face?” I try to answer but my mind goes blank, my heart racing as I mentally rehearse the story Papa was sayin’ right before comin’ here. “No, I don’t recollect if he hit me” I say, lookin’ at Atticus. Something clicked in his head and he looked at me like he won. Sayin’ no was clearly the wrong answer “I mean yes I do, he hit me” Everyone’s lookin’ at me, and I can feel them blacks staring right into my head. I need to get out of here.

Entry Two: The mob outside the jail

Point of View: Atticus

I close my book, gently setting it down on my lap. They have arrived. They aren’t bad people, however they are dangerous. They have been raised with the belief of supremacy, the inability to respect the differences of one's skin. Frankly, the fact they are going after Tom isn't surprising, these prejudices have been around for centuries and when there is an opportunity to break the chain of hatred they panic. They are here to stop me, but more importantly they are here to stop Tom. To defend him is my duty, not as his lawyer, but as a human being. One should not be subject to the harassment he faces daily, the dull ache of racism present in every aspect of his life. The Cunninghams are respectable, yet they lack respect of human life. Despite the current situation I cannot truly hate them. They are extremely loyal to those who win over their reverence and they have a moral code which they hold close to their hearts. My book sits on my lap as they gaze up at me it reminds me of the eerie calm before a storm.

Entry 3: The "guilty" verdict

Point of View: Jem

“Guilty... guilty... guilty.... Guilty....” My heart is torn out of my chest, my lungs fill with water, I am choking on the constricting words of another man's. They seep into my skin and drain into my beaten soul. This ain’t right. It can’t be. What makes one man better than another? What is it that blinds and distorts the truth in the eyes of the jury? What makes a man respectable? I am lost and I’m scared that I ain’t gonna find what I’m looking for. Why? How?

I can’t escape the questions, the confusion, the pain. Atticus defended Tom good and he still lost. How can I be a lawyer when what I say don’t matter, when the truth don’t even matter? I can barely stand. My chest heaves in and out, in and out. I bite my lip an’ blink my eyes. It ain't the time to cry.

Entry Four: Boo Radley protects the children

Point of View: Boo Radley

I shudder to a standing, my head aches an’ I feel the anxiety gripping me. I don't regret it though. The man who lies dead in front of me was about to hurt my kids. I watched them grow, I saw em’ mature I have a connection to these children. If I wasn’t there they would be dead and I wouldn't have ever seen ‘em again. No playin around, rolling ‘round in tires, I had to save them.

I lean over, my back throbs dully. I grip the young boy hard, pickin’ him up and carryin’ him to Atticus. My back nearly gives out under the weight of Jem but I shrug a little’ and walk faster. I leave the body and Scout. I hear her tiny footsteps thundering after me. I try not to slow down, but it’s difficult. I cough, wheezing harder and harder until I reach the house. The walls close in on me and I stray away from the bright lights exposing me to the eyes of onlookers. I want to go home, but I need to check to see if the children are safe.

Response:

"First of all," he said, "if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." (Lee 39) in order to properly understand the quote for oneself, it is necessary to imagine the scenes through a different perspective. This lesson teaches readers to be more understanding, no matter the circumstance. It’s historical significance and harsh reality is hard to ignore, forcing the reader to come to terms with the different perspectives. This in turn spurs the formation of individual opinion. Those who are unable to consider a situation from a different point view are held back and will not be as compassionate and as tolerant as those who can. It is important to instill this lesson within the minds of the young children in order to help them achieve more than just commercial successful, but emotional and moral as well.

Credits:

Created with images by Sew Technicolor - "To Kill a Mockingbird 1"

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