Have you ever thought, why is my teacher so adamant about me reading To Kill a Mockingbird? What if I told you it is filled to the brim with life lessons and morals that allow us to reflect deeply upon it? Firstly, life lessons are more important than you think and they matter for a few specific reasons. Secondly, if you look at the main protagonist, Atticus he was always kind and demonstrated numerous life lessons. Lastly, one of the main topics is racism and it has a lot of teaching value. With all of these prominent ideas that schools love to promote, how could they not choose this book?
In the first place, before determining the importance of life lessons, it is pertinent to fathom what it is, and why it matters. So what exactly is a life lesson? A life lesson is, “1. something from which useful knowledge or principles can be learned” (Dictionary. com). Basically it corresponds to; something that will teach you a lesson for next time. Here is an example of a life lesson, “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t fail. ” (Gates). This is a good example because Bill Gates is telling you about success and he also explains the useful knowledge that can be learned.
The useful knowledge is that success makes you feel invincible which makes success a bad teacher. Now, onto the important part, why should you care about life lessons? Well, you may not personally care but life lessons add good educational value to books. These lessons can show you the struggles of fictitious story lines that are almost synonymous with real life stories. This is what schools are supposed to do because they are a place where we learn fundamental values. For an example, Harry Potter written by J. K Rowling is a fiction book that does not have any good educational value.
To further illustrate my point, To Kill a Mockingbird touches upon important issues that were present in the early 1960’s with a lot of wrongful black convictions, such as the Roxborough Boys trial. Then the book speaks about Harry traveling to a fantasy place where magic is real. This puts To Kill a Mockingbird above many others in terms of educational value but it makes it perfect for the school curriculum. Now that you understand what a life lesson is and the real reason it matters, let us move onto some of the life lessons in the novel. First off, Atticus who is the parent of Scout and Jem taught many life lessons.
One of the first lessons he showed Scout was the compromise. In chapter 2, when Scout finishes reading out loud in class Ms. Caroline says, “Now you tell your father not to teach you anymore. It’s best to begin reading with a fresh mind. You tell him I’ll take over from here and try to undo the damage-” (Lee 23). After Atticus hears about this he teaches Scout that more often than we would like to admit, compromising happens. The reason why this is a good life lesson is because when you get older you will encounter situations where two people will not agree and, then you will need to negotiate.
By letting Scout know this he is preparing her for when she is older and enters an unfortunate predicament. The next life lesson Scout learns is being humble. In chapter 10, Atticus reveals his secret that separates him from the rest of Maycomb parents, his marksmanship skills. Miss Maudie also explains that being humble is the right thing to do. She said, “People in their right minds never take pride in their talents…” (73). By teaching Scout to be humble she is teaching her character traits that are important for when she grows up.
The reasoning is that bragging is impolite and causes others to look down on you. To summarize, these life lessons showed only the tip of the iceberg in comparison to how many there are. Furthermore, one of the main problems in the town of Maycomb is racism from the townsfolk but as always Atticus has a solution. The first time this issue really comes to light is when Francis (Scout’s cousin) torments Scout because of Atticus’ decisions.
The chapter begins with the Finches visiting their cousins for Christmas and then Francis calls Scout, “n***** lover. (110) which prompts Scout to strike him in the face. This causes Atticus to have a chat with her. He said, “It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name it just shows you how poor that person really is, it doesn’t hurt you. ” (144-145) This statement is a variant of, turn the other cheek and it is important because Atticus knows this will be a recurring phenomenon. Anyways, as you might have guessed racism strikes again and Atticus was more than ready. During the famous trial scene we are shown that what is going on is down right corrupt-plain and simple.
Tom Robinson’s (the suspect) left arm is crippled but is still accused of raping Mayella Ewell even though it is clearly her father. A little before this Atticus takes on the case even though he has almost no chance of winning. By doing this he teaches us the life lesson that you should stand up for what is right no matter what. This is a good example for his kids because it shows them that, “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing” (Burke). In conclusion, racism wreaks havoc but Atticus has a good solution that includes a useful life lesson.
Now that the many good life lessons have been explained you can clearly agree that it is indeed filled to the brim with life lessons. Initially, you learned what a life lesson was and why it honestly mattered. Secondly, Atticus clearly taught some remarkable life lessons to Scout during the course of the book. Lastly, racism was clearly shown and Atticus demonstrated some useful knowledge that principles can be learned. In conclusion, To Kill a Mockingbird was not chosen by a freak accident for the curriculum, it was chosen because of the abundance of fantastic life lessons it has to offer!