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Reports & Essays: Literature - Novels

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To Kill a Mockingbird 3
Comparing To Kill a Mockingbird with The Man Without a Face "Fighting Fear and Tradition" Michael Jordan can't single-handedly win a basketball game. Wayne Gretzky can't win hockey games by himself either. It takes a team effort to be successful. That was exactly the case in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and The Man Without a Face. Even though the time period of To Kill a Mockingbird (1930s) and The Man Without a Face (1960s) were vastly different, everyone needed help, no matter how dangerous. It is no easy task and takes a lot of courage, but it is not impossible, it is achievable. Although Jem Finch and Charles Norstadt both matured over time, Jem had no real goal except to be a better all-around person, while Charles' goal was to make it to the military school. In Jem's situation, he believed one of the steps to success was to escort his little sister, Scout, back home. He did, but he paid a sacrificial price. A complete surprise attack would have left Jem lifeless like a fish on dry land if Boo Radley, the outcast, had not saved Jem's life. Jem even took the humiliation of apologizing after destroying the garden of Mrs. Dubose because of his lack of self control. Charles Norstadt matured a lot as well and was rewarded with entry to a top military school. He learned to accept the fact that people were no longer supporting him. For example, when McLeod ordered Charles to dig a 3x3x3 hole, he refused to do it. He later learned that this was his geometry lesson. Also, when Charles attempted to shortcut through his essay assignment, he was caught and acco! rding to McLeod "a high class cheat now". Perhaps, Charles' biggest maturity step was his ability to see the person behind the burnt face of Justin McLeod. The news was biased, and McLeod would not answer, so he was forced to take facts from his personal experiences and interpret them "I didn't teach you the whole summer so you could cheat on this question!" yelled Justin McLeod. Even though both Jem and Charles fought against society's perspective, they both blossomed admirably and were later able to take a stand against a community with large prejudices. Despite the prejudices that both communities had, the community in To Kill a Mockingbird was racist towards Tom Robinson while the media portrayed the negative image of Justin McLeod in The Man Without a Face. Because of Tom Robinson's racial disadvantage in court, Atticus Finch became his lawyer. Atticus felt that everyone, including people of all colors, should be equal. "^ our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal," (p. 205) said Atticus Finch, in his court finale. Even before the actual trial, society was out to kill Tom Robinson. Atticus even got up in the middle of the night to protect he inmates. Justin McLeod failed in his initial attempt to teach a child from a broken family. Charles, however, gave McLeod a second chance. McLeod needed Charles, to recapture the trust, friendship, and the teaching skill he had lost. Without Charles, McLeod would forever be isolated completely from society. However, even as prejudiced as the communi! ties were, they functioned amiably without an earthquake like effect on their lifestyle. And even though the Finches and Norstadts both had large problems, the community did not interfere. It was dealt with by a parent or housekeeper. Even though Calpurnia and Charles' mother were both maternal figures, Calpurnia played a stronger role in the development of Jem while Charles' mother was very nonchalant about her son. "On my part, I went to much trouble, sometimes, not to provoke her," (p. 34) commented Scout. Unlike Charles' mother, Calpurnia adapted well between the clashing races and had authority in the house hold. Calpurnia took care of Jem and Scout, as well exposed them to new ideas. For example, during a scorching day, Calpurnia brought them all cold lemonade as opposed to making them get it themselves! She also took them to her church which taught Jem and Scout respect for negroes. As for Charles' mother, she was not able to keep track of her child because she was so pre-occupied by her new husband. When Jem returned home late at night from McLeod's place, his mother had no idea. Eventually it was too much for her, and she prioritized her husband over her son. Nonetheless, both women played importa! nt roles. Without either of them, Charles and Jem would not have been able to reach the position they are now despite their lacking home environment. Although Jem Finch and Charles Norstadt both had broken families, Jem Finch had the support of Atticus, his father, while Charles Norstadt looked up to Justin McLeod for paternal support. Atticus always kept Jem in line whenever he went insane. For example, when Jem lost it and destroyed Mrs. Dubose's garden, it was Atticus who forced Jem to apologize and basically fight his fear. When Jem and Dill kept attempting to agitate Boo Radley, it was Atticus who told them to stop. Atticus also led by example when he shot a mad dog. He proved that he could protect when needed to. Even though, Charles had no dad, McLeod was in almost every aspect like a second father. When Charles heard the actions of his biological father, he immediately went to McLeod for support. McLeod even kept him for the night. In fact, without Justin McLeod, Charles' life would have been dramatically different. Despite the lack of parental support in the households of Jem and Charles, they both looked to remed! y the problem. They both proved it was possible even though they both were at a major disadvantage; through the help of others. In our lifetime, we will reach many steep mountains. We will need help in order to survive, even if it means seeking our worst enemy. Just as in their period of time, today, we will need allies to win and succeed. No matter how dangerous and scared we may be. They may be the missing piece to the puzzle of life.

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