Childhood to Adulthood: Critical Essay on 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, children live in a creative world full of mysteries, but nothing can hurt them. Scout and Jem spent a lot of time making up stories about their lonely neighbor Bu Radley, and they were ecstatic before finding the safety and comfort of their father Atticus. However, as the novel unfolds, compared with the real dangers Jim and Scott encounter in the adult world, the imaginary threat posed by Bu Radley appears pale and weak. The sibling's awareness of the differences between the two pushed them from childhood to adulthood, and when they made this transition, the childhood villain Bradley connected their past and life together.

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The games and stories of Jem and Scout surrounding Boo Radley describe him as a source of violence and danger. However, while these inventions appear to be designed to show the bravery and maturity of children, they paradoxically show that Jim, Scout, and their friend Dier are still primarily children. Their stories are creepy and the thrill of their games, like touching the side of Boo's house, comes from their imagination of the dangers they will face if Boo catches them. However, children can indulge in crazy imaginations and take on things they consider risky because they feel completely safe in Atticus's care, and Atticus protects them from the dark and dangerous world. Thus, the menacing Boo is still firmly rooted in his childhood worldview, and adults are infallible. When the adult protection in the novel is broken, Jim and Scout first realize the real danger, which is different from the danger they imagined for Bradley.

The Miss Modi fire, the tragic death of Mrs. Dupos, and the violence and upheaval after the Tom Robinson case brought real pain and anxiety into their lives. Adults feel scared and sad for their children for the first time, so they cannot hope to provide them with safety or shelter. Boo Radley used to be such a sinister existence, but now it appears to be a relic from a more innocent era. The contrast between then and now seems more stark, because Bradley still exists in their lives, constantly reminding them of the previous situation. Faced with real danger, Jim and Scout must use their new maturity to deal with tragedies, new social challenges, and growing family expectations. As her relationship with Atticus and the larger adult community changed, so did her relationship with Boo. Once just a creepy abstract character, Boo began to play a more active role in children's lives. When Miss Maudi caught fire, she first used a blanket to protect Scout, then Jem and Scout. The attack of Bob Ewell. Boo is an integral part of Jem and Scout's childhood. During his rapid growth, Boo is the link between his past and present. Once an imaginary enemy and a source of perceived danger, Bu became a true friend and ally, helping them at the critical moment of their transition from childhood to adulthood. The first vision of the children's 'danger' focused on Bu Radley. Only by understanding the contrast between these imagined dangers and the real dangers in the adult world can they enter adulthood from childhood. But the children's changing interactions with Boo also reveal another factor of maturity: empathy. Boo used to be a strange character in children's games, but he eventually became a real character in their minds, a man who has experienced more tragedies than he deserves, and deserves the honor, respect, and love he deserves.

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Childhood to Adulthood: Critical Essay on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. (2023, August 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from
“Childhood to Adulthood: Critical Essay on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.” Edubirdie, 17 Aug. 2023,
Childhood to Adulthood: Critical Essay on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 Apr. 2024].
Childhood to Adulthood: Critical Essay on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Aug 17 [cited 2024 Apr 18]. Available from:

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