Discrimination During the 20th Century

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Along with the large amounts of racial discrimination that took place throughout the mid-1930s and within the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, another type of discrimination that was widely seen within them was that of gender discrimination. Women were greatly discriminated against throughout the 1930s. They were expected to follow a strict moral and behavioral code that was not expected of men. It was expected of them to act in a passive, sensitive, and private manner while men could act in an active, rational, and public manner. (“To Kill”). In the novel, Scout is the main character and she is viewed as a tomboy, as she never followed what the community surrounding her deemed to be acceptable. She always broke from the mold of the perfect little girl of the 1930s. In one scenario within To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout was reflecting upon how her Aunt Alexandra views her in regards to how she behaves and dresses. “Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants. Aunt Alexandra's vision of my deportment involved playing with small stoves, tea sets, and wearing the Add-A-Pearl necklace she gave me when I was born; furthermore, I should be a ray of sunshine in my father's lonely life.” (Lee 74). This quote expressed the views that society had towards how woman and girls were expected to dress and behave throughout this time period. Her Aunt finds it unacceptable for her to be wearing pants instead of a dress as that is deemed as unladylike. She also believes that Scout should be playing with toys that are meant for a young lady, such as dolls.
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