Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

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To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee is novel set in a three year period through the ‘great depression’. Atticus Finch (Jem and scouts father) is originally portrayed as a friendly and understanding person, though when he attends court defending a ‘black man’ as his job, suddenly he and his family begin to suffer racial hatred from their community. The story features on the themes of racism, community morals and the realisation of certain truths whilst growing up. It is a fascinating novel with a great storyline full of drama and unexposed realities.

Racism was quite a predominant topic throughout the novel also relating in with symbolism. Their small commune consisted of both ‘white’ and ‘black’ people each with their own racial thoughts and views of each other. When Jem and Scout went to the black church a woman yelled out “You Ain’t got no business bringin’ white chillun here; they got their church, we out ours”. This just goes to show how their community in a way defines people by what colour their skin is, they have places which only they can go, and the ‘black’ people have their places where ‘white’ people are forbidden to go. When scout was talking to dill she mentioned “Well Dill, after all he’s just a negro”. After hearing a line like that it gives a bit of an impression as to what it’s been like for Scout growing up in this particular area and time. She’s grown up in a society which emphasises the fact the ‘black’ people are from a lower class and are not respected as much as ‘white’ people. The way she says it; “’just’ a ‘Nergro’” gives an impression about her situation with the fact that something like that would be accepted but if someone’s was to say that now, in our modern society and way of living, they...

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...n in the book When Jem’s a bit older she gave a description of what it was like to live with him. “He was difficult to live with, inconsistent and moody, said Scout”. From this stage she realised that he didn’t want to play with her like a little kid anymore, he wanted to grow up and be more of a man.

Harper Lee’s Maycomb county bears out many of the stereotypes commonly attributed to the south and southerners regarding race relations. In the midst of portraying negative attitudes and prejudices, however, a truer face of the south shines through in the actions of the Finch family. Lee skillfully balances Atticus and his children with symbols of life in a “typical” southern town to draw a sharp distinction between those who would live the life they are told to live and those whose consideration of the world around them make their lives richer and more meaningful.

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