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Childhood as Innocence in Relation to To Kill A Mocking Bird & Beasts Of The Southern Wild

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This essay shall be disscuing childhood and childhood innocence. It shall also look at the literature /media portrayal used , it’s plot and relation to the idea of childhood as innocence. As humans, one must be careful of the evil of this world. Abhorrent atrocity event happens everyday, around every human being. Although these dreadful and horrific events surround every human, yet children are clueless to it all. Children are filled with innocence and uncertainty of event that transpire around them.

Childhood as a term is non-precise in it time span and it’s simply imply a varying range of human development. This range usually reckon from birth to adolescence. Although, legal rules of many countries, childhood legally ends at age range of fifteen to twenty-one with eighteen being the most common. The notion of childhood started during seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and was greatly influenced by the English philosopher, John Locke, through his education theories and books. Before the enlightenment, children were seen as an incomplete version of adult.

The notion of childhood innocence started with the view of childhood in a romanticism perspective, where children are seen as “sin free and pure”. This refers to children naivety, lack of knowledge and purity not yet affected by everyday affairs. This idea was influenced by the French philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). Rousseau (1765) assume that children were born pure, good and faultless, and that through life experiences, they learn sinful and contrition. Most parents want to protect their children from the bad things in the world. This is quite difficult to achieve especially when living in a poor country or a country at war.

Innocence, at one level, can be said to be a rarefied quality of ignorance. To believe in fallacious things, like the tooth fairy, Baba Yaga (Boogeyman), Santa’s Claus. To be benighted of sex or that death will come. To have so much belief in the fable that parents have infinite power and goodness in them. Childhood innocence exists in a counterbalance with the idea of childhood guilt. In his book, William Blake (1789), highlighted two contracting idea of childhood innocence and experience. During the late nineteenth century children lost their innocence because the economy was so poor that they had to go to work and help the family

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To Kill A Mockingbird is a novel written by An American writer, Harper Lee and was published in 1960. (Milton, 1894) named it a classic of modern American literature. It widely known for its humour and ardency, regardless of it touching several important issues, such as race injustice/inequality, rape and loss of innocence. The story takes place in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama amid the three years of the Great Depression (1933-1935). It centre on a little girl, Jean Louise Finch (nicknamed Scout), who stays with her brother Jeremy and their father, Atticus, who is a middle age lawyer and widowed. Jeremy and Scout befriend a boy named Dill, who stays at his aunt for summer. All of them had to experience the time when the Finch’s Family were castigated for Atticus defense of a black man, Tom Robinson, who had been wrongly accused of raping a young white woman. The novel is separated into two sections which portray the children’s world and the collision of the children’s and adult worlds.

Beasts Of The Southern Wild is a 2012 American movie directed and Co-written by Ben Zertlin. The movie was adapted from Lucy Alibar one act play Juicy and Delicious. The movie focus on a bold six-year old girl, Hushpuppy, who stays with her father, Wink in a small town named Bathtub (which is separated from the rest of the world by a levee) in the Mississippi, River Delta. Wink showed her tough love to prepare her for when he is no longer around, and she had to live on her.

The two, “To Kill a Mocking Bird” and “Beast of the Southern Wild” are critical regarding issuse of the innocence of a child from a tender age and the relationship between a young daughter and a father. “Beasts of the Southern Wild” shows simplicity in a small neighbourhood. Hushpuppy is a young girl who represents the needs and interests of her neighbourhood. Hushpuppy carries out imaginary conversations with her mother in a building where she stores all her lost mother’s belongings. Her father does not have a close relationship with the daughter. Hushpuppy only has social amenities for her upkeep as benefits from her father. The two fail to take time to create a robust and personal relationship. The father loves alcohol too much which makes him ill.

On the other hand, “To Kill a Mockingbird” talks about the innocence of a young narrator. The film shows a struggling father in a racist justice system. The young narrator, the Scout, witnesses the trial of a black man who the court accuses unfairly for rape (Tom Robinson). Scout is not happy with the conviction. She experiences prejudice with Boo Radley, a ghost-like creature. Despite the adverse perception of Boo, Boo ends up rescuing her and her brother which changes her perception and views Boo as a noble being. Her father is a significant symbol of morality and justice throughout the story.

The two stories are a depiction of the connection individuals have with their surroundings. Both children and adults alike go through several issues that affect them daily. An example includes Hushpuppy who mostly spends much of her time alone with her imaginary mum while Scout has a ghost-like creature (Boo) who she confides in despite her negative perception. Fathers are seen to play a minimal role in the growth and development of their daughters. One spends much time on alcohol while the other on discriminatory issues befalling his community. The representation of the two stories looks into the things that occur in real society. Childhood innocence doesn’t get lost, instead it allows maturity to bloom. Adults choose to ignore this childhood vulnerability but this quality is what is responsible for the evolution into adulthood. In both “To Kill a Mocking Bird” and “Beast of the Southern Wild” both fathers treated their children as adult. This allows the children to be able to see and understand the situation happening in their society. For Scout, it teaches her prejudice, maturity and courage, which she showed when she confronted the mob who where about Lynch Tom, while for Hushpuppy, instead of allowing her father illness to affect her, she rather epitomises it and make herself stronger.

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Childhood as Innocence in Relation to To Kill A Mocking Bird & Beasts Of The Southern Wild. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
“Childhood as Innocence in Relation to To Kill A Mocking Bird & Beasts Of The Southern Wild.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022,
Childhood as Innocence in Relation to To Kill A Mocking Bird & Beasts Of The Southern Wild. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 1 Mar. 2024].
Childhood as Innocence in Relation to To Kill A Mocking Bird & Beasts Of The Southern Wild [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2024 Mar 1]. Available from:
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