Body Language in To Kill a Mockingbird

698 Words3 Pages
Everyone has heard the saying “actions speak louder than words.” How people say something and what they do while saying something can completely change the mood of a conversation; this is known as nonverbal communication. One of the biggest factors in nonverbal communication is body language. In To Kill a Mockingbird, voice tone, posture, body movements, and facial expressions are a big part of the body language. Harper Lee excels in not only writing the dialogue of a character, but adding detail, like body language, that helps the reader better understand the characters and the ongoing story. The night before the big trial in Maycomb County, there was an angry mob planning on killing Tom Robinson at the jailhouse. As Scout, Jem, and Dill hurried over to the commotion to see what was going on, the body language of the mob made it evident that Scout had basically saved Tom’s life. When Scout spoke to Walter Cunningham, he “was moved to a faint nod” (153). Even the rest of the mob and Atticus were moved by Scout’s unawareness of the situation. “The men were all looking at me, some had their mouth half open. Mr. Cunningham’s face was equally impassive” (154). These actions of the mob significantly indicate the fact that they weren’t expecting a seven year old to intrude in their doings, or to confront them the way Scout had. Lee’s details enhanced the understanding of the grimness of the occasion. It was never said that the mob was planning on killing Tom Robinson, but with their ashamed actions, the assumption could be made. Two scenes in the story really stick out, and they are both part of one of the biggest watersheds of To Kill a Mockingbird. These mentioned scenes are during the Robinson-Ewell case. W... ... middle of paper ... ...0). These subtle details hint that not only is Boo extremely shy, but he is also so nervous in this situation because he’s not accustomed to human interaction. This sad realization can only make the reader wonder what kind of life Boo could’ve had if he’d been brought up in a different way, or even in a different home. Harper Lee uses body language as the main detail in To Kill a Mockingbird to help the reader better understand the unwritten parts of the book. Numerous assumptions can be made throughout the story, but with a little insight of the details and reading between the lines, the reader will have thorough understanding. This is how a good, detailed book should be; making the reader conscious of the events, and having emotions toward the characters and the book itself. Works Cited Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Warner, 1982. Print.
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