As we approach our essay for Mockingbird, we need to begin selecting scenes that are instrumental in the coming of age of our characters. The prompt itself expects the following:
“[W]rite a passage analysis of a key coming-of-age scene from To Kill a Mockingbird. After annotating the text to analyze Harper Lee’s use of literary elements in your selected passage, write an essay explaining how the literary elements in this passage help develop a theme of the novel.”
While you are not yet writing the essay itself now, our homework for this week asks that you select the scene that will be central to the essay you will soon write. There are many considerations in selecting a scene that is key to coming-of-age:
Are you selecting a scene focusing on the development of just one character (such as Jem or Scout), or are you selecting a scene that shows how multiple characters develop simultaneously?
You could even select a scene that shows how one character develops while others around them do not!
Are you selecting a scene that demonstrates when they have matured? Or will you focus on a scene that shows how much farther they have to go? Both of these could be true!
This means you could choose scenes that are early or late in the novel!
Are you choosing a scene that is significantly related to other events in the novel? Is it possible that your analysis of your key scene can rely on evidence from elsewhere in the text?
Regarding the annotation of the scene, you should look for the use of literary elements to develop concepts related to coming of age. Consider:
How are characters interacting with or seeing the setting in new ways?
How are the conflicts between character or setting changing?
How does the tone reveal elements of character development?
What diction and syntax are used that show a change is occurring? Is the character thinking or speaking in new ways (especially about familiar topics)?
What symbols are appearing, and how are they being understood by the characters?
How are motifs being used to show change over time?
A final thought about theme and this essay. Your goal is not to simply say that the character is coming of age, but to show how they are coming of age. That means the theme is not necessarily only about coming-of-age. If your character is starting to think about any important, universal theme, then they are coming of age. So you can argue that Jem’s recognition that “prejudice is destructive to justice” is a key element of his coming of age. If the character is becoming aware of a universal theme, then they are coming of age.
****WARNING**** You are not writing an essay about how events show coming of age; you are writing an essay about how LITERARY ELEMENTS (conflict, character, setting, allusion, motif, symbol, juxtaposition, etc.) help develop a theme related to coming of age! You MUST focus on literary elements!!!
Goals are to demonstrate an understanding of a passage’s role in developing significant aspects of a text by selecting a passage where significant literary elements contribute to a character’s coming of age.
Exemplary Work will demonstrate a strong understanding of the material covered, of how an author develops character based on their statements, behavior, and the relationships they have with those around them, and of how to carefully compose a response demonstrating this understanding with limited grammatical and mechanical error.