Differences in Social Classes in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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It is acknowledged by many readers that there are many different social classes in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ written by Harper Lee and published in 1960. One of the most obvious social class distinctions is between skin colors, which can be seen through this novel. Since most readers’ focal point of this novel is on the distinctions between skin colors, they are unlikely to pay attention to the difference in social class within the white community. Lee wants to illustrate a contrast in white society and how characters behave differently through the uses of character foil, characterization, and the theme of society inequality in order to emphasize the differences in social classes.

By utilizing character foil between Aunt Alexandra and Atticus, Lee was able to illustrate a contrast within the white society. In order to show how a typical white person would behave during that time, Lee introduces Aunt Alexandra to portray how most white people would act in Maycomb. “You all were coming back from Calpurnia’s church that Sunday? (Lee, 1960, p. 222)” This quote exemplifies how Aunt Alexandra is always discriminated against black people. She was shocked to hear about Jem and Scout going to black church with Calpurnia. While Calpurnia is portrayed as a well-mannered person who acts like a mother to Scout and Jem in this novel, Aunt Alexandra looks down on Calpurnia, because she was born with different skin color. In response to Calpurnia’s action, she told Atticus, “...you’ve got to do something about her... (Lee, 1960, p.224)” to discrete herself and to prevent Calpurnia from being in the same social class as her. While Aunt Alexandra symbolizes as a racial prejudice in this novel, Atticus is one of the characters that represents both a...

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...proached him, cursed him, spat on him, and threatened to kill him (Lee, 1960, p.359)" implies how rude the Ewells are to Atticus and other people in Maycomb who opposed them. Despite the poverty situations in both families, the Ewells behave differently from the Cunninghams. Lee wants to emphasize this by illustrating how there is even a social inequality within the white society and how characters behave differently towards eache others in Maycomb.

Therefore, through the uses of character foil, characterization, and the theme of society in equality, Lee was able to accurately depict her view of the white society in Maycomb by the characters in this novel. The difference in level of politeness, occupation, and behaviors implies how people like the Finches are representing higher social class in Maycomb, because they do not prejudge people based on their skin color.
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