One of the most popular forms of literary fiction, Bildungsroman novels capture the essence of character growth, maturity, and understanding about the world around them. At its very core, this type of novel is a story about a character’s maturing process, especially from childhood; in fact, it is often called a “coming-of-age” story.
Related to both plot diagram and types of literary conflict, the ”Hero’s Journey” is a recurring pattern of stages many heroes undergo over the course of their stories. The most basic version has 12 steps, while more detailed versions can have up to 17 Hero's Journey steps.
This classic story has touched generations since it was written in the late 1950s. Set during the Great Depression in Maycomb, Alabama, the story centers around the Finch family. Atticus, the father and a prominent lawyer, takes a case defending an innocent black man. Although Atticus proves his client is innocent, the all-white jury still convicts the defendant.
To Kill a Mockingbird Hero's Journey - Atticus Finch Heroic Journey
CALL TO ADVENTURE
MENTOR / HELPER
Sleepy Maycomb Alabama, 1930s
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD
Atticus is asked to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of rape.
TESTS / ALLIES / ENEMIES
He realizes the attention that this case will bring, and that it will expose his family to the cruelty of society. The psychological journey of Atticus and his family begins as they battle morals vs. prejudice in the south.
Calpurnia is often Atticus’ helper. She is his black cook and disciplinarian for the children. She acts as the passage for the Finches into the black community. The Mentor of the novel is Miss Maudie, who, like Atticus, believes in Justice and becomes friends with the children.
As the trial begins, hostility towards the Finches grows. Although Atticus knows what the verdict will be, he promises to do everything he can for Tom.
Many of the townspeople become enemies during the trial. They allow their racism to cloud their judgment and morality.
The trial ends with a guilty verdict, but Scouts journey has not ended. She still faces hardships brought on by her father’s involvement in the trial.
Sometime after the trial, Scout and Jem are walking home. Bob Ewell attacks them. Boo Radley, who is agoraphobic, leaves his home to save the children and kills Ewell in a fight.
Scout and Jem’s lives are spared.
Scout gains a moral education, their lives are saved, and her faith in the goodness of humanity is somewhat restored by Boo, who risked his life for them.
The Sheriff rules Ewell’s death accidental, saying that he fell on his own knife. “Let the dead bury the dead.”
The Sheriff’s decision not to convict Boo restores Scout and Jem’s faith in justice and humanity. While Atticus does not think this is right at first, Scout explains it to him that sending Boo to jail would be like killing a Mockingbird. These words prove Scout has learned a valuable lesson, and has come full circle in her journey.