Our Turn: Lessons from literature
I am a sophomore at Rhinelander High School. Currently I’m taking English Survey, and have learned some great lessons from the books we have read in class; but the book that has stood out to me the most is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. There are numerous instances where advice has been given by the character Atticus that can be applied in daily life, not only in the high school, but also in the workplace or at home.
Many lessons are taught by Atticus, but one of the most important is when Atticus was resolving a conflict, and states that you should not judge or belittle someone before you have walked in their shoes for a day. In other words, you shouldn’t make fun of or rudely talk about someone before you entirely understand their situation, way of life, and different stresses that person may be encountering.
Atticus also reminds us of something that is ours and ours alone by saying, “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” His advice says that no matter what happens, you cannot ignore what your conscience says is right, and you have to be willing to fight for it, even if you know you are going to lose. Along the same lines is another quote by Atticus: “Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It’s knowing you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”
He says this because he, like all of us should, follows his conscience wherever it might lead him. He does this to an extent of possibly throwing away everything he has worked for as a lawyer in the defense of a black man named Tom Robinson. We should also follow our conscience even if it means that we leave the majority of people behind in the pursuit of what we believe is right.
Atticus is an excellent role model for all of us to follow. He refrains from judging people no matter how much they seem to be rude or obnoxious. Atticus follows his conscience wherever it takes him, despite the possible consequences. Above all, he has the courage to fight for what he believes is right, even if he knows it will all be in vain.
Atticus is truly a great role model for us to live by and try to become more like. If everyone takes one lesson away from Atticus’ teachings, this world would be a better place for all.