In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, there are two key characters that go against what each other stand for and their morals time in and time out throughout the story. Atticus Finch was a noble gentleman with philosophies that go far beyond his time, and can be seen as the popular ideology in the times we live in today. The acceptance we have learned over the past few decades to love every human being as they are is thanks to the people who were defiant and stood up to the society that he was born in. On the other hand we have a despicable, liquor intoxicated, man who cried wolf named Bob Ewell. When compared these two are as day and night as God and Lucifer.
Atticus Finch, a man of special talents with a gifted mind beyond his time. He takes pride in his last name, and holds his head high about being a slow-fused, altruistic man. He genuinely cares about his children and goes about raising them in a more unorthodox way in the times of this novel; he almost treats his children more as an equal than as their commander. This seems to stick, and the morals Atticus had can be seen in the young eyes of Jem and Scout. In the beginning of the novel Scout is portrayed as hotheaded and wants to fight every person who talks a little bit of slander, or looks at her unfavorably. Atticus sits scout down and says that she doesn’t need fists and violence to prove a point but instead to fight with her head, and she is very capable of proving better points with her words. Scout truly saw the point Atticus made and the reason behind why he said in, and from there on when Scout got angry she would clench her fists, say nothing, and just let it go. Atticus was a fair man with more courage than anybody else in his town even though most of his town mistook his courage for stupidity. He was given a case to defend a African-American male, which in those times had a near 100% conviction rate no matter how innocent they could seem. Most lawyers wouldn’t even think twice about trying, however Atticus said “This case, Tom Robinson’s case, is something that goes to the essence of a man’s conscience- Scout, I couldn’t go to church and worship God if I didn’t try to help that man.” Atticus looks beyond the colour of somebodies skin and sees that everybody is capable of doing the same things; everybody’s brain can work the same, so there shouldn’t be a single reason why an innocent man should be executed for a crime he obviously didn’t commit. I believe that if everybody had been taught the same lesson Atticus taught Scout, “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.” Countless lives would’ve been saved over the course of human history, and working together instead of against each other we would’ve achieved greater things by now.
To reiterate how noble and fair of a man Atticus Finch is, you can look at his polar opposite, and enemy in trial, Mr. Bob Ewell. Ewell took Mr. Tom Robinson to court on the account of rape and had nothing more to prosecute this man other than the fact that he was a black man, and it’s only in his nature to do so. However when you compare Tom and Mr. Ewell you can see that Tom helped Mayella Ewell out of the goodness of his heart and not for his own gain, he even turned down the offer of money. On the other hand Bob Ewell crosses everyone he knows, spending his welfare checks for his family mainly on alcohol, and he has a well-known reputation of being a less favourable member of this community. Bob Ewell even attacks the defendant’s lawyer, Atticus, after the trial for defending Tom, even though that’s exactly what his occupation is meant to do. When Bob couldn’t faze Atticus his scumbag head came up with the idea to attempt to kill his children. It is truly no surprise that when Bob was slain no one really cared, and chose to make a no case of culpable homicide and wrote it off as an ‘accident’. All in all the difference between Atticus and Bob is black and white, and what makes Atticus a respectable gentleman is accepting both the blacks and the whites.
In the short story “House” the character Harry is a inflexible, stubborn character who undergoes a change throughout the story. Harry is the head of his household; he has two children named Joey and Doll, and is a loving husband to his wife Anna. Harry is consistently getting into arguments with Anna about whether they should buy a house or not. Anna likes living an unconventional life, but Harry feels a need to conform and move to the suburbs. In the beginning of the story they start off in an argument, with Harry stating, “It’s a case of retarded development. You’re 30 years old.” Harry is frustrated but as much as his wife doesn’t want to move, he feels like he needs to do it for her saying, “It’s supposed to be for you.” This is because he thinks that moving to a nice area where they could do all the same things, and the kids could go to a good school and all in all have a better life. Anna feels quite opposite about the situation and wants to live somewhere unique like an island, however the kids wouldn’t learn the necessary skills in life to provide for themselves when they’re grown up. However, Harry perseveres and buys a house for his family to move in, however life isn’t going as smooth as he planned and his opinions are beginning to change. When he buys a new car and drives it, the only thing in his mind is how much he misses the old one that he sold. In hindsight Harry didn’t know the responsibility that the house would need, and the bills that had to be paid. Harry is a dynamic character because he undergoes a change of heart and thinks he shouldn’t have moved. At the end of the story he begins to smash down a wall and makes plans for renovations, this is a symbol of Harry changing his opinion about the house he moved in, and wants to go with his families plan.
In a world where tragedy strikes everywhere people’s brains work at a mile a second, and hindsight is 20/20 people wish they could go back and change even the slightest thing so their lives didn’t have to go through a drastic change. In the stories “Choices” and “The Metaphor” the main characters both go through really hard times and it leaves a lasting impression on their mind, as if it were a kind of mental scar.
In the short story “Choices” by Susan Kerslake a beautiful young woman named Peggy is going on a road trip with her boy toy Ken. They have been on and off for a long time, and aren’t really too close and there’s a sense of awkwardness in the air. Peggy was torn by the decision to even go in the first place, but thought there was really nothing to lose. When she finally met up with Ken there wasn’t much affection shown for each other, and they embark on the journey to the cottage. Peggy decides to go to sleep to avoid conversation, and she also can’t help to notice how relaxed Ken is driving. Something tragic then happens to Peggy, but as she is dazed and confused the pieces can’t all be put together. She heard other people’s voices urgently yelling directions, her sense of vision was disoriented. There was so much pain with her legs being crushed under the weight of a scolding hot, oily engine block pushing down. She is then rushed into an ambulance with her mind racing trying to grasp the totality of what just happened. Potentially dying was going through her mind and all she could think of was how she didn’t want to die this way, such a pointless way for no reason; and wished it would at least happen in the line of duty or at least for some importance. She then could see Ken in the ambulance, holding his head in what looked like guilt. Peggy deeply thought that the simple choice to go with this man, whom she had no real intentions in the pursuit of a deep, meaningful relationship, may have potentially just made her meet her maker. This surge of emotions that followed the conflict are certain the leave her a time in her life she will never be able to forget.
In the short story “The Metaphor” by Budge Wilson a young girl named Charlotte grows to become attached to her new grade 7 school teacher. However, Charlotte’s mother and this teacher have conflicting personalities that seems to have a huge affect on Charlotte, more than she would know. Her mother wouldn’t discipline Charlotte by ranting and yelling, but simply more criticize her actions in a passive-aggressive posh way. Charlotte would soon start to detach from her emotionally absent mother, and begin to look at a different female role model, her teacher Mrs. Hancock. This teacher was very flamboyant and outspoken, leading for other people to perceive her in way the were unfavourable. They would define her as quirky, overdone, and weird, but to Charlotte she was inspiring and motivational. One day Mrs. Hancock taught her how to use the writing device called the metaphor, and Charlotte instantly fell in love and would never stop writing them. Time passes, Charlotte enters highschool, and walks into her new grade 10 classroom, only to find her same grade 7 teacher standing before her. With Charlotte’s coming of age, and desire to not stand out from the rest of her peers, she decides to try and stay low and play it cool and not make herself look weird. This would mean to try and refrain making unnecessary conversation with the weird teacher, as her fellow grade 10’s were ripping away her spirit. Then one day walking through the halls, Mrs. Hancock tries to make conversation with Charlotte, but Charlotte keeps walking and chooses to ignore her. Later that day a tragic fatal event occurred involving the death of Mrs. Hancock via school bus. When Charlotte finds out about the news she is emotionally distraught, and tries to cope but can’t help to think it was her fault for not reaching out to Mrs. Hancock when she tried to talk to her. The reaction she got from her mom when she found out that her daughter’s teacher died was cold, stating that the teacher had it coming based off of her personality. This made Charlotte permanently emotionally fragile and is sure to have an everlasting effect on her brain and will be a moment in her life that she simply can’t delete, but will have to live with for the rest of her life.
In both of these stories the characters had to extremely hard times in their lives based off of a small decision that a typical person makes hundreds of each day. In Peggy’s case she would be physically and mentally damage, from the car crash and the reason why she would even be in that car in the first place. On the other hand Charlotte would have only mental damage from conflicting interests on the opinion of her teacher and mother, and who she wanted to be perceived as of a member of society. This made her ignore a teacher which could have possibly been the final straw for that person’s will and desire to live, causing her life to end short. In both cases these two young women went through hardships that will impact how they live out each day of the rest of their lives, and how they react to similar social interactions henceforth in their life.
In Susan Kerslake’s short story “Choices” the focus is on the type of relationship shared between Peggy and Ken, and the subtle importance of a tiny decision which people make thousands of times in their life. The type of relationship they have is not very serious and more of lust than love. Peggy hardly sees him and one day Ken calls her out of the blue, and invites her to his cabin. Peggy is very uncertain about going on the road trip and is very wishy washy over whether she should go or not, which should be a definite answer either yes, or no if your boyfriend asks you. The uncertainty that Peggy has shows that she doesn’t really love Ken all too much, and when they first see each other hardly any emotion is displayed whatsoever. In the story the two both are surprised at how a relationship like theirs could even last as long as it already has, and they don’t seem to share much in common due to lack of conversation. In one part of the story Peggy, “Was torn between trying to make a conversation and catching a catnap under the blanket of sun coming out the window.” This shows the level of awkwardness shared in the car because with someone you truly care about, the conversation should flow smoothly, and become second nature. Finally, when the car crash happens Peggy finally realizes at how unimportant to her life spending time with Ken was, and Ken feels guilty about dragging an innocent person whom he didn’t think about all too much. This is displayed when Ken is looking guilty, “Put his hands on each side of his head, leaning forward.” All in all the relationship shared between Peggy and Ken is not a very healthy one, which deep down the both can easily sense, but neither of them won’t have the gut to do it.
In the short story “The Metaphor” by Budge Wilson, a young girl named Charlotte starts her year of grade 7, and is introduced to her teacher Ms. Hancock. This teacher is a very flamboyant, outspoken lady who is often perceived as a wee bit weird but as Charlotte is in grade 7 that doesn’t even register to her. Ms. Hancock starts her usual lesson one day and shows her class the ways of the Metaphor. Charlotte immediately falls in love with writing metaphors, continuing the use of them at school, even at home, practicing and practicing writing more of them each day. Ms. Hancock instantly took to Charlotte calling her metaphors, “Unusually good, unusually interesting for someone your age.” Charlotte goes home to tell her mom the exciting news she has about her excellent new teacher Ms. Hancock and her mom replies “Is she that brassy Ms. Hancock whom I met at the home and school meeting. However, when she reaches high school she must hide this passion for the reason of ridicule and unfavourable thoughts from others. Charlotte i surprised to step into her grade 10 English classroom and see the same grade 7 teacher she had standing before them. Charlotte got “caught in a stranglehold somewhere between shocked embarrassment and a terrible desire for concealment.” Her moms opinions about the teacher linger in her head, and it seems as if Charlotte has grown into caring all about what other people think of her, and chooses to ignore Ms. Hancock for the fear of not looking cool enough around others. One day, Charlotte is met with a terrible fate when she ignores Ms. Hancock and later finds out that Ms. Hancock was fatally hit by a bus. Charlottes emotions go crazy out of control and is met with consistent sadness. Charlottes mom tries to tell her to cut it out as if it had no bearing over her. A sad Charlotte then writes one final metaphor, describing her as a beautifully detailed birthday cake that most would find too sweet and out of taste, but some can appreciate the true taste.
A perfect society is what most people fantasize of, work for, and in some cases die for; but is all the effort providing positive results? That is up for speculation. In todays society we’re used to grabbing a remote, turning on the television, and hearing absolutely terrible things happening around the globe. From terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and governments turning on their own people. We hear this at such a rate that most of us are so desensitized to the content of the conflict, and cannot understand the full value of what was lost for other people. With this said the society and environment we see today is not perfect. However, it is all up to peoples way of looking at things, you can focus on all the bad, all the good, and all the real things that affect you. Life is a balancing act, and the phrase “Everything is okay with moderation” has some real bearing. For us in life to consider something ‘good’ we have to be able to compare it to something bad to know the value and difference the two may have. If the world was completely perfect right now with no violent, or even non-violent crimes and everybody was in a good mood the world would lose its diversity, become monotonous, and dull with no good times to standout from the rest of their day. Just a plain routine of more desensitization. As sad as it may be to say, to really enjoy the most out of life you’re gonna need the bad times in society, to contrast that of the good times.