Compare/contrast the theme loss of innocence in To Kill a Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet.
I have to write an essay and and I am having trouble providing good examples of the theme of loss of innocence.
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Probably the best way to approach this essay is to make a brainstormed list comparing and contrasting one protagonist of each novel. From To Kill a Mockingbird it would be easiest to choose either Scout or Jem, and from "Romeo and Juliet" the most obvious choice is between Romeo and Juliet. In fact, if I were writing the essay, I'd probably even go so far as to either look at the two female protagonists or the two male protagonists, as that is going to be a more "equal" comparison.
When you look at how each character "loses" his or her innocence in each story, you will find that the circumstances are very different. Scout and Jem are exposed to prejudice, racism, and lessons in injustice and hypocrisy at very young ages. On the whole, these two children remain very close to their father and can credit much of what they learn directly to Atticus. On the other hand, Romeo and Juliet lose their innocence by rebelling against their parents and families, and making all choices on their own. However, prejudice and injustice is also involved. They learn lessons in love and loss, and of course, ultimately lose their own lives. The "contrast" part of your essay could easily be focused on the difference in the circumstances for each character.
When it comes to finding similarities between the stories in this theme, you should look at the outcome of "loss of innocence" for each character. Though arguably none end in a similar place, it could also be argued that they gain or develop similar attributes. For example, it could be said that both Scout and Juliet eventually come to a place of confidence in themselves, where others opinions no longer seem to matter.
In order to get started, I encourage you to brainstorm several answers to the following questions for your selected (2) characters:
- What circumstances, choices, and attitudes affect this character's loss of innocence?
- What happens to this character as a result of losing his/her innocence? Consider again, the change in circumstances, choices, and attitudes.
I think you will find that between these two questions, you'll have more than enough material from which to create a thesis and well organized outline.
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