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With education as the overiding theme, how does To Kill a Mockingbird have relevance in...

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bronaiston | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 27, 2011 at 4:39 PM via web

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With education as the overiding theme, how does To Kill a Mockingbird have relevance in 2011?

I'd like to consider family structure, formal education vs informal education, peer relations, and modern day prejudice helping the child to finally "see" people.

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katemschultz | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted August 28, 2011 at 7:35 AM (Answer #1)

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There's a lot to cover in this topic.

In regards to family structure, family is the first place we all begin our education--both academically and socially.  This is as true today as it was in the 1930s when To Kill A Mockingbird is set.  Jem and Scout get the foundation of their beliefs and education from their father Atticus, and go to school, interact with other, without knowing there are people who believe differently or who have been taught differently.  Atticus has taught Jem and Scout is see people as people, but that is quite a different view point than the kids Jem and Scout go to school with.

Many people in Maycomb are shocked that a single father with a full time, demanding job could be such a good role model and educator for his children; a lot of people feel the same way today--that children from single parent families, or non-traditional families do not have as much educational opportunity or success than their more traditional counterparts.

Jem and Scout are educated in the ways of Maycomb--they know about the Radleys, the Ewells and the Cunninghams.  However, Miss Caroline, the symbol of formal education, doesn't know these social tradition and makes a fool of herself on the first day with both Walter Cunningham and Burris Ewell.  This goes to show that formal education is not necessarily the primary or only education needed.

Scout gets scolded at school for being advanced--able to read and write--which seems inconsistent with what Scout has been taught at home--to love to read with her father.  The inconsistencies of education at school (formal education ) versus informal education (education on one's own or at home) still is present today, though often it takes a more religious slant--some parents don't want schools teaching their children religious values while other parents think it's the duty of teachers to instill morals and values in the children.

These are just a few good places to get started.

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