Use of Minor Characters in To Kill a Mockingbird

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Minor characters are often more important than they initially seem, and can be just as engaging and complicated as major characters. Furthermore, protagonists are isolated without the people that surround and influence them subliminally. This applies to the intriguing minor characters one has the privilege of discovering in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Specifically, Lee uses minor characters to effectively disprove stereotypes and establishing setting. Not only do they influence the direction of the plot, but also Scout and her development as a character. Lee carefully selects minor characters to send important messages and reinforce themes by using characters as symbols. Fundamentally, the minor characters in “To Kill a Mockingbird” are crucial in making Harper Lee’s novel beautiful, moving, and believable enough to touch every reader. Firstly, minor characters break stereotypes to breathe life into the sleepy town of Maycomb, establishing setting. For example, Mr. Dolphus Raymond assumes the character of a drinker as a pretense for associating with coloured people, though in reality he is drinking coca cola and not alcohol, hidden the contents in a paper bag. He confesses this to Scout, saying “Secretly, Miss Finch, I’m not much of a drinker, but you see they could never, never understand that I live like I do because that’s the way I want to live” (Lee 200-201). This proves that what is most outwardly transparent and unlikeable in a character may truly be interesting and good-natured. Mr. Raymond’s secret causes the reader to look past the paper bag and ask why a man might go to such extent to hide his best qualities. It proves that, in Mr. Raymond’s eyes, Maycomb isn’t yet able to handle the truth. He must hide it behin... ... middle of paper ... reasoned with. Without a doubt, the symbolism of minor characters effectively represents both the flaws and beauty of humanity. Ultimately, the minor characters in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird are crucial in rendering the novel a masterpiece. Their individuality is refreshing yet meaningful, as they break the stereotypes that attempt to limit a prejudiced society. Scout herself is deeply influenced by the characters she meets, and the experience only increases her wisdom. Also, the symbols portrayed through minor characters speak volumes about humankind- not only of our flaws but of the promise of change and redemption. In truth, minor characters are of utmost importance in any story, because the world an author creates is only as good as the characters that populate it. Works Cited Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Warner Books, 1982. Print.

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