What is the importance of parenting in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?
I know that this is similar to my question on families, however, I wanted to know what being a parent means in the book, rather than the links between the families in Maycomb. I also think that an example of contrasting parents is Atticus and either Bob Ewell, Aunt Alexandra or Cal.
Any help would be much appreciated, thanks.
You could definitely contrast the parenting of Atticus and Ewell. Atticus is a single parent, but does not rely on others to raise his children. He does rely on help from Aunt Alexandria and Calpurnia, but it is never to replace his own parental duties. The care and attention that Atticus gives his children is in sharp contrast to the obvious lack of attention that Bob Ewell gives to his own children. The Ewell children are not only unkempt, but unschooled in social behavior and expectations.
The role of parenting is important in this novel, as we see Scout and Jem evolve into young people who have been taught to respect authority and think of the plight of others before passing judgement. Ewell's daughter is a product of her environment, and has had no guidance in being a respected member of society. Her behavior in court would normally have warranted a contempt charge, but the lack of real parental role models gives her a bit of charity.
Boo Radley is also a product of parenting. His father's harsh punishment lead to Boo being a social pariah and the subject of public scrutiny.
Regarding the character of Atticus, his parenting style is more democratic than most. Through many situations between Jem & Scout, he allows them to learn by experience. For example, he knows the children are playing the game of "The Radley's" and allows them to continue to hopefully figure out on their own the impact of making fun of somebody. Although he allows his children freedom to paly and explore, he is also a firm disciplinarian, always teaching his children to think of how their actions affect others and allowing them to devise their own punishments (Mrs. Dubose camellia bushes).
Whereas, Bob Ewell uses verbal & physical abuse to "parent" his children. Aunt Alexandera follows society's guidelines and rules as a "one size fits all" parenting style.