The First time that I read the classic coming of age tale of Jem and Scout Finch I was in eighth grade. As an incredibly sheltered child of thirteen, the deeper ideas of the book were lost on me. Yes, I felt bad for Boo Radley, and thought that the trial of Tom Robinson was unfair, but I had no idea how realistic the events of the book truly were. To Kill a Mockingbird was brought up sporadically through the next four years of my education. By the time I made it to college, I thought that I had learned and understood everything the book had to offer. Until this class. Our readings, as well as class discussions, were filled with stories similar to Robinson’s. In To Kill a Mockingbird, farmer Bob Ewell discovers his daughter’s feelings for Tom. To cover up the embarrassing situation, the father accuses Tome of raping his daughter and takes him to trial. Even though the evidence is obviously falsified and Tom is innocent, he is still found guilty by an all white jury.cTom attempts to escape from jail in hopes of avoiding the fate that awaits him. He is quickly found, shot and killed.
The tale of Oliver Moore, a citizen in Wilson County, North Carolina, is surprisingly similar. Moore was accused of sexually assaulting his White landlord’s daughters and was promptly arrested and jailed. Moore did not even survived one night in the county jail. An angry mob swarmed the building and kidnapped him. It has been debated that the Sheriff on duty may have opened the door to the mob and let them in. The mob strung Moore up by his limbs, leaving him hanging between trees. He was then shot until he was unrecognizable. This mob had no shame in their actions, taking photos and hanging photos of incident in storefronts to serve as a warning to the other African American citizens of Wilson County.
Now that I am mature enough to understand the stories of Tom Robinson and Oliver Moore, I appreciate that I was exposed to them at such a young age. Even though I didn’t fully comprehend the seriousness of some of the events going on in To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee helped me grow into a tolerant citizen of the world by teaching me respect for human life.