Does "To Kill A Mocking Bird" express a pessimistic or optimistic view of life?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The moral courage of Atticus allows a positive view of life to emerge.  The reality is that while there are aspects of society which are morally repugnant.  There are situations where the worst aspects of human beings are present.  Within these moments, however, individuals must rise and prove to be the opposite.  One of the most powerful elements of Lee's work is that individuals have the capacity to demonstrate how society should be as opposed to what is.  Atticus represents this for not only does he stand up to the social order in displaying the "better angels" of human nature, but the lessons he teaches to his children reaffirm these values.  It is in Atticus' moral strength does the ability to change society present itself, contributing to the overall positive view of life.

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The book "To Kill a Mockingbird" expresses an optimistic view of life.  In the book there are events there is racism, and cruelty, but the morals learned in the book over rides the bad things.  Scout and Jem meet Dill and there is lay and frolic in their childhood.  They put on plays, worrying about the town boogieman, and hang-out during the summer.  Atticus is a supportive loving father who invites wisdom into the children's lives.  The children also get to experience the black community in a positive manner.  Tom Robinson's death is an unfair and sad event, but the children have become stronger advocates for the innocent.  The experiences the children have allow them to become good people like their father.

The most positive parts of the story come at a time when the reader does not expect it.  After Tom has been found guilty Atticus gets his bag and starts to leave the courtroom.  The black people all stand up to honor him.  He is a positive factor in that he stood up for what was right instead of following the mentality of racism.  The black people also honor him by bringing all sorts of food to Atticus' steps.  Atticus and the people who support him represent the good in people.

The story ends with the reader bing aware that from Atticus and his guidance two wonderful caring children have arisen.

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