To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, what are the ideas developed by Harper Lee about the pursuit of dreams and goals? What are the dreams and goals of the characters?

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It is no coincidence that the story takes place in childhood.  Children begin as blank slates, with hopes and dreams for the future.  Parents also have dreams for their children.  Atticus’s dream is to have his children grow up treating people well.  Aunt Alexandra’s dream is for Scout to grow to be a lady.  Jem dreams of a world where Tom Robinson would be acquitted.  Dill dreams of having a father, and a real family. 

To a certain extent, none of these dreams are realistic.  Each is half-realized in the story.  Even when Dill has a stepfather, he does not having a loving family.  He does, however, find a family in his aunt and in the Finches.  Even though the jury does not acquit Tom Robinson, they do deliberate for longer than expected, meaning they do grapple with the issue.  Scout and Jem meet other people throughout the story who do not judge everyone by race or social class.  Scout does grow, and learns to understand Aunt Alexandra and the society she is a part of.  Boo Robinson does come out, leaving hope that it is possible for the world to change.

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