How does the theme of adventure fit in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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TKAM displays many aspects of the adventure novel, especially in Part One with the children's exploits surrounding their desire to catch a glimpse of Boo Radley. Though the exploits of Jem, Scout and Dill may seem tame in comparison to other adventure novels with children as main characters (such as Treasure Island and Great Expectations), the children's raids on the Radley house in the hope of making "Boo come out" create a sense of excitement and danger. Jem's bold act of running up and touching the Radley house; Scout's roll in the tire that leaves her on the Radley steps; and the nightime excursion when Jem loses his pants are all examples of youthful adventure. The children's later exploits--joining Atticus at the jail on the night the lynch mob comes for Tom, and their sneaking off to watch the rape trial--are daring moves for young children, providing them with emotional turmoil that will not soon be forgotten. The climax to the novel provides Jem's and Scout's greatest adventure of all: They manage to survive the murderous intentions of Bob Ewell, and Scout's greatest fantasy comes true--meeting Boo Radley in the flesh--all in a matter of minutes. These life-changing experiences are at the heart of the novel's reminiscences, and they add another dimension to a book best remembered for its racial and social injustices.


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