To Kill a Mockingbird has faced many restrictions and criticisms since Harper Lee wrote it in 1960. Atticus Finch’s protagonist passes valuable lessons on discrimination to his two children, Jem and Scout. Every parent ought to strive to instill the teaching in their children’s lives to grow up to be responsible adults. Many people have complained about the book’s offensive language and adult themes, making it one of the most banned books in America’s curriculum. To Kill a Mockingbird should be taught in middle and high schools as it aids in sensitizing learners on racism, helps them grow into responsible adults, and teaches them about history.
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Teachers must teach to Kill a Mockingbird in schools as it helps to sensitize the students on important societal matters that exist in society. Racism is an issue that is still practiced in the community, and literature forms a fundamental basis through which learners can be sensitized (Macaluso, 2017). Atticus Finch, the protagonist, played a significant role in defending black people during the court sessions. Tom Robinson, a black man, had been falsely accused of raping a young white lady, Mayella. Atticus demonstrates courage during court sessions in defending the convict against the accusations levied on him. Finch said, “Link, that boy might go to the chair, but he’s not going till the truth’s told” (Lee, 1960, p.195).
Students observe that the rights of the blacks have to be protected, and therefore they appreciate and treat each other equally. Atticus is a morally upright person who believes that his responsibility is to protect Tom against the Maycomb racist community members.
Besides sensitizing children against racism, the novel also helps to create a sense of not practicing racial activities. The learners feel empathy for the black people racially discriminated against and thus avoid practicing (Macaluso, 2017). They become aware that racism is a bad vice, as shown by Atticus in the novel. Atticus said, “In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life” (Lee, 1960, p.295). Students reading such statements develop an empathetic feeling towards the blacks’ treatment in the court system. The tutors can use these statements to demonstrate to the learners how racism should be avoided in society. People must speak against racism, and teachers can use these lessons to condemn discrimination.
The second reason the novel should be taught among school children is to develop them into future responsible parents. Atticus effectively demonstrates his responsibility to teach her daughter, Scout, about sensitive issues in society (Macaluso, 2017). Her daughter inquires about the word “nigger,” and Atticus answers, “nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don’t mean anything… ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favoring Negroes over and above themselves” (Lee, 1960, p.109). It indicates that Atticus does not fear explaining to her daughter some of the most sensitive issues. He reveals to her daughter that he loves everyone regardless of their skin color. Atticus replies, “I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody” (Lee, 1960, 109). It helps instill in the learners that they should explain sensitive issues when they mature into parents.
Students not reading this text do not avoid the encounter of offensive words. In today’s world, the Internet has become so popular that children are exposed to terms such as “nigger, ” “damn-hell,” and “whore-lady” (Lee, 1960). Instead of banning the novel in schools, teachers can use these opportunities to discourage the students from adopting these words in their formal language. It is factual that the word “nigger” has been used in the book over forty times, but it does not mean that is the only episode that students come across such terms. In the current Internet era, students are exposed to even more offensive language through the Internet. Young people always have the curiosity to explore and learn new things.
In the novel, the learners develop a feeling of knowing and appreciating history. According to Allen (2021), Atticus displays that Maycomb society subjected the blacks to racial discrimination throughout the novel. In these experiences, the learners thus know the progress made in the community towards the achievement of equality. The students compare the treatment subjected the blacks in the 1930s to that one they are subjected to currently (Lee, 1960).
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The lessons from the novel quickly help to open the learners’ eyes to the issues that happen around them. Failing to teach To Kill A Mockingbird may make racism continue prevailing in society without the learners knowing. Atticus demonstrates empathy to the black people throughout the way he strives to defend the rights of the blacks. The students thus draw examples of people in society who are fighting against racism.
In conclusion, educating To Kill A Mockingbird the students will not cause harm to them. Instead, they get the chance to reflect on vital issues, such as racism, within society. In addition, the text molds the learners into responsible adults who do not fear facing any societal issue. They become responsible parents who teach their children important issues. The novel also enables the learners to learn and reflect on the history of the past. Encouraging the teaching of the book will bring more benefit than damage to the learners.
Allen, R. (2021). Don’t kill mockingbird: An educator’s guide to teaching to kill a mockingbird in the 21st century. Masters Theses 777. (Liberty University, Master of Arts in English). Web.
Lee, H. (1960). To Kill A Mockingbird. Longman.
Macaluso, M. (2017). Teaching to kill a mockingbird today: Coming to terms with race, racism, and America’s novel. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 61(3), 279–287. Web.