The Instigator
toamatt26
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points
The Contender
SeventhProfessor
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points

Is Boo Radley the main mockingbird in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
toamatt26
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/2/2013 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,488 times Debate No: 41549
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

toamatt26

Con

The first round is for acceptance. In an earlier debate, my opponent stated that Boo Radley was the main "mockingbird" in the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee.
I wish best of luck to my opponent.
SeventhProfessor

Pro

I accept. But, to be clear, we have shared burden of proof, correct?
Debate Round No. 1
toamatt26

Con

Thank you for your acceptance, and we shall begin

In the story "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, Scout Finch describes the three years that she has matured from the start of the novel to the finish. The story mainly takes place during one summer, where a black man named Tom Robinson was convicted of rape. As I can infer, you have already read the story so I do not need to summarize the story.

The key parts of the novel are the lessons that Atticus Finch tries to teach Scout. For this debate, we are mainly concerning about his lesson to "not kill mockingbirds." Atticus explains to his children that all mockingbirds do is make music, and that they are no harm to anyone.

As you have read the book, there are many "mockingbirds" throughout the story, and Scout and Jem Finch learn Atticus's lesson through the trial. The novel itself, falls under the historical fiction/personal narrative. The story is mostly Harper Lee's recreation of the Scottsboro trial of 1931. The event in America's history, changes the people's view of the country, as did the Tom Robinson trial to the town of Maycomb. A personal narrative, definition provided by wiki.kdl.org, "documents a person"s experience. It could tell of a single life shaping event, or simply a mundane daily experience." The key part of the definition is that it shapes the person's identity. What Scout and Jem face throughout the trial of Tom Robinson helps them shape their identity, not their interactions with Boo.

Statisticly, the pages relating to the trial of Tom Robinson are nearly equal to the amount of Boo Radley, but the pages of Boo Radley are at the start and end. The start of the novel helps show that Maycomb is an isolated place and helps show that the people of the town are very nieve (hence the fact that everyone thought of Boo as a scary monster, which later leeds to them not willing to accept the truth of the Tom Robinson case). At the end of the novel, Boo's appearence is there to show that Scout has finally understood the lesson that Atticus has been trying to teach him.

Tom Robinson is the main "Mockingbird" in the novel, because of its centrism of the plot. The plot of the novel takes place during the trial, as does the climax. Although Jem and Scout's interactions with Boo help assist their views, it is not the main idea of the novel.

I will be awaiting your response
SeventhProfessor

Pro

"The key part of the definition is that it shapes the person's identity. What Scout and Jem face throughout the trial of Tom Robinson helps them shape their identity, not their interactions with Boo."

Their interactions with Boo certainly shape their identities. They thought of him as a monster, believing everything their neighbors said. As he drops more hints of being friendly, such as leaving gifts in the tree and putting the blanket around Scout, they realize he isn't bad. Eventually, he even saves both of their lives, certainly teaching them a lesson about judging without knowing.

"Tom Robinson is the main "Mockingbird" in the novel, because of its centrism of the plot."

The entire first part (chapters 1-11) of the book talk about Maycomb's isolation, and feature Boo as a character almost as dominant as Dill. Tom Robinson is only mentioned briefly a few times, and isn't nearly as important as Boo. Later in this paragraph, you say that the trial is the climax. While it is, at best, a climax, the point the story was really building up to was Jem's broken arm. The character that took a major role in this, saving the main characters, was Boo Radley.

Now, my arguments.

It seems like what a mockingbird is has been ignored. A mockingbird is someone who, despite only doing good in their lives, is treated poorly. Boo Radley, while just a kid, was caught up in the wrong crowd trying to be cool, and arrested. His father kept him in the basement, which eventually drove him to insanity. Presumably after the scissors incident, members of Maycomb started spreading rumors about him, most of which, if not all, were negative. These then spread to Scout and Jem, causing them to dislike and fear Boo without knowing him, even though he was giving him the gifts in the tree.

These are two instances where Boo has represented a hypothetical mockingbird, while Tom Robinson, at best, can have one instance.
Debate Round No. 2
toamatt26

Con

"Their interactions with Boo certainly shape their identities. They thought of him as a monster, believing everything their neighbors said. As he drops more hints of being friendly, such as leaving gifts penisin the tree and putting the blanket around Scout, they realize he isn't bad. Eventually, he even saves both of their lives, certainly teaching them a lesson about judging without knowing."

Scout and Jem's interactions with Boo do shape their identity, but not as dramatic a change as the trial of Tom Robinson. My opponent mentioned that from chapters 1-11 Boo Radley was oftenly mentioned, though in this timsdsafasfdafsadaerawtdgagadsfe, the only actions he persued was putting gifts in the Radley tree. The importance of this event later touches upon Atticus's lesson, which he reminds Jem and Scout about after the trial.

"Tom Robinson is only mentioned briefly a few times, and isn't nearly as important as Boo."

The sequence of "To Kill a Mockingbird," or any book for that novel, usually starts the story with an introduction. My opponent and I, I assume, would both agree that the story would not be made chronologically well, so therefore Tom Robinson has to mentioned only a few times in the beginning, if he were to be the major part of the plot.

"A mockingbird is someone who, despite only doing good in their lives, is treated poorly."

My opponent stated that a mockingbird is someone who only does good things in (his or her) life. Despite the grammatical error, (this debate is more about information than spelling and grammar), I would like to point out a few things. My opponent claims that a mockingbird is someone who does good in his or her life. He also emphasizes on the introduction of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and how it has more events involving Boo Radley, than relating to the Tom Robinson trial. In the start of the novel, Boo Radley is having rumors spread about him, saying that he is a monster. Although the rumors are mostly folly, the reader can see that Boo Radley was known for his act of stabbing a family member with a pair of scissors (which my author calls "the scissors incident"). It is not a rumor that Radley mentally and physically intended to, and pursued the stabbing rampage. When my opponent states that a mocking bird "is someone who, despite only doing good things in their lives, ..." he is contradicting his own statement that Boo Radley is classified as a Mockingbird. The key word in the quote penis is only. Boo Radley stabbed a family member with a pair of scissors. His only family member, was stabbed in the leg with a sharp object, sharp enough to pierce through the victims skin. Is this act an act of goodness? Although most readers can infer that Boo Radley is a mockingbird, my opponents quote goes against that inference.

"Boo Radley ... was caught up in the wrong crowd trying to be cool, and arrested."

This claim supports my statement that Boo Radley does not classify as what my opponent considers a mockingbird. Also in the state ment that boo radly was "caught up in the wrong crowd trying to be cool," (besides the grammatical awkwardness), there is no evidence to support the claim.

Now to my arguments

Although I have stated my arguments in round 2 of the debate, (intended to make this 1) acceptance, 2) Arguments 3) contradictions,) I would like to continue adding arguments.

My opponent stated that a mockingbird is a person who gets mistreated, but does good things. I assume that by "doing good in their lives" means doing actions that would benefit not only himself but the entire society. A perfect example of which, would be Tom Robinson. The story has stated nothing of Tom Robinson persuing any wrong doings.

"Were you paid for your services?" [Atticus]
"No suh, not after she offered me a nickel the first time. I was glad to do it, Mr. Ewell didn"t seem to help her none, and neither did the chillun, and I knowed she didn"t have
no nickels to spare." [Tom Robinson]

This quote shows the generosity and well being that Tom Robinson had provided for the town of Maycomb. Robinson says that "[he] was glad to do it, Mr. Ewell didn't seem to help her none." Someone who is glad to do a good deed would greatly be classified as "doing good in their lives" Link Deas later tells the crowd of the trial "I just want the whole lot of you to know one thing right now. That boy"s worked for me eight years an" I ain"t had a speck o"trouble outa him. Not a speck." The signifigance of this quote is shown by the fact that he never has done trouble. So therefore, my opponent's classifaction of a mockingbird, and how they only do good things, would make Tom Robinson the best candidate.

As you have read throughout this debate, Tom Robinson is the main mockingbird in the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. Lee based the novel on the Scottsboro trial, which showed the people how cruel America was. Lee's recreation of Scottsboro is shown with Tom Robinson representing the 9 black children and Mayella Ewell representing the two white "victims" Tom Robinson also holds a better spot in my opponents definition of a mockingbird and how it is "is someone who, despite only doing good in their lives, is treated poorly." Not only is Tom Robinson the best example of a mockingbird, but according to Pro's quote, Boo Radley doesnt qualify as a mockingbird himself. For these reasons, vote Con.
SeventhProfessor

Pro

"Scout and Jem's interactions... which he reminds Jem and Scout about after the trial."

Can a few months of minor bullying and experiencing an incredibly unfair trial really even compare to the effects of nearly being murdered, and being saved by someone you've been taught all of your life to fear? Even though importance in the plot is still irrelevant to what a mockingbird is, I'm sure Scout remembered that night more vividly than the trial.

That being said, I'll avoid continuing the debate over who was more important in the story, as that isn't the resolution.

"In the start of the novel, Boo Radley is having rumors spread about him, saying that he is a monster."

I'm sorry for not making it clear, but I was referring to Jem and Scout reflecting on what caused Jem's broken arm. Into their adult years, they are still talking about the time that Boo Radley saved their lives.

"It is not a rumor that Radley mentally and physically intended to, and pursued the stabbing rampage. When my opponent states that a mocking bird "is someone who, despite only doing good things in their lives, ..." he is contradicting his own statement that Boo Radley is classified as a Mockingbird."

I realize the use of the word "only" was a mistake, but Tom Robinson hasn't led a perfect life either. He was careless enough to get his arm stuck in a cotton gin, most likely not paying to replace a new one. Boo Radley's incident, however, was caused by insanity due to being locked up in a basement for who knows how long? Tom Robinson's was most liekly cause by lack of concern or forethought about his actions.

"His only family member"

Both his brother and mother were alive at this time, and thsi family member had locked him in a basement for an unknown amount of years.

"This claim supports... there is no evidence to support the claim."

There is certainly evidence. Arthur Radley, a kind, quiet boy that just moved into the neighborhood, was described as changing drastically after hanging out with the group that got arrested. The most logical theory behind how this happened is that Boo was trying to be accepted.

"This quote shows the generosity and well being that Tom Robinson had provided for the town of Maycomb."

The only person in Maycomb Robinson ever helped for no pay was Mayella, and that's because he was a good person. Boo Radley gave joy and mystery to the lives of Scout and Jem, not even asking for recognition, even after saving their lives.

While my opponent continues to say Robinson is based on the Scottsboro boys, which he undoubtedly is, he hasn't taken a look at what Lee may have based Radley off of. While the Scottsboro boys case was one specific case, Boo Radley represents all black people under the Jim Crow laws. While Boo is white, he symbolizes everything the laws made blacks out to be. He was thought of as evil, perverted, murderous, and feared. All of this, even though if anyone tried to actually get to know him, that wasn't true. The Scottsboro boys were real life mockingbirds, but in no way more so than black people living under the Jim Crow laws.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by toamatt26 3 years ago
toamatt26
"Boo Radley was oftenly mentioned, though in this timsdsafasfdafsadaerawtdgagadsfe" Im deeply sorry for this, it is a keyboard issue and "typo".

It is supposed to be: Boo Radley was oftenly mentioned though in this time....

Sorry for the misconception and I hope that the voters would not take this into consideration of "Spelling/Grammar"
Posted by toamatt26 3 years ago
toamatt26
Im sorry i didnt answer your question "we have shared burden of proof"

answer here in comments
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by debatinghoe123 3 years ago
debatinghoe123
toamatt26SeventhProfessorTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: I agreed before this debate, that in the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," Tom Robinson was the main mockingbird. After this debate, it is hard to say because both sides have shown good arguments. With that said, I think Con had more convincing arguments due to his ability to reject Pro's definition of mockingbird, which was a crucial point in this debate. According to spelling and grammar, Con made a long spelling mistake in the start of the 3rd round. Pro kept saying "liek" throughout the debate, so therefore they are tied in spelling/grammar. The most reliable sources, both used the book but Con's key detail about the Scottsboro trial, taking place in 1930 was much more significant than Pro's Jim Crow Laws which take place later on. Pro also makes a mistake in the end of his writing by saying that Boo Radley was based on the Jim Crow Laws, which is very wrong. But by sources I'm referring to knowledge about the book and why Harper Lee wrote the novel. Overall, this was a great debate.
Vote Placed by funwiththoughts 3 years ago
funwiththoughts
toamatt26SeventhProfessorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con made several hilarious and bizarre typos, "which my author calls", "gifts penisin the tree", "in this timsdsafasfdafsadaerawtdgagadsfe"...