To Kill A Mockingbird Essay: Gender Roles and Feminism

To Kill A Mockingbird Essay: Gender Roles and Feminism

Length: 1326 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Gender Roles and Feminism in To Kill a Mockingbird


When the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was written by Harper Lee, the Southern United States was still clinging tightly to traditional values. Southern societies pressured men to behave as gentlemen, and women were expected to be polite and wear dresses. These stringent gender roles were adhered to in small southern towns because they were isolated from the more progressive attitudes in other areas of the United States. Harper Lee documents the life of one young girl growing up in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama. Jean Louise Finch, also known as "Scout," is a young girl searching for her identity. Scout, a young tomboy, is pressured by adults who insist she should conform to the traditional role of a southern lady. Harper Lee establishes and promotes Jean’s masculinity through the use of nicknames, fighting, and masculine clothing, while contrasting her with women that fit the stereotypical female model.  

In traditional society, parents name children according to their gender. Common names for boys include John, Robert and James, whereas Elizabeth, Sarah, and Cathy represent standard names for girls. The author gives her main character two common female titles, Jean Louise. Many southern females have two first names which reinforces their role in society as a Southern Belle, or a traditional southern lady. Lee contrasts this extremely feminine name with her masculine label, Scout. "'Scout, I'm [Jem] tellin' you for the last time, shut your trap or go home - I declare to the Lord you're gettin' more like a girl every day'" (52). It seems interesting Lee assigns Jean Louise such a manly name. Although the nickname accurately describes her personality, it does not seem a...


... middle of paper ...


...she describes the pompous women. The author uses the women's conversations to emphasize the reasons Scout remains a tomboy and refuses the traits of Maycomb females.

Harper Lee provides the reader with several examples of typical Maycomb females. She establishes Scout's masculinity with fighting and explains her demeanor by contrasting it with the typical female adults of the novel. The author also allows Jean Louise to wear masculine clothing and gives her a manly nickname. Therefore, the author favors Scout's unique personality and implies women do not have to act in a stereotypical manner. The book might inspire young girls to become independent and create their own unique personalities. To Kill a Mockingbird emerges as an important novel that contradicts female society and suggests that girls should not feel pressure to act in scripted "womanly" roles.

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay Feminist Theory And Gender Roles

- The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotype of females instantly begins as soon as the doctor says “it’s a girl”. Feminist theory mostly focuses on gender roles, gender inequalities and women equal rights. Therefore, one can relate the feminist theory to the family, in the sense that a family is consisted of individuals, and for that particular family to function, each entity as a certain role to play. The feminist theory determines that gender roles are socially cultivated which are most taught by one’s family....   [tags: Feminism, Gender role, Feminist theory]

Strong Essays
983 words (2.8 pages)

Gender Roles in "The Awakening" Essay

- Gender Roles in The Awakening The 1890’s were an era of rapid social change in regards to women’s rights. In 1893, Colorado was the first state granting women the right to vote with Utah and Idaho following soon after in 1896. This soon set momentum towards of ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. It was in 1899 the Kate Chopin published The Awakening, a novel telling the tale of a suppressed mother, Edna Pontellier, and her desire for something more in her life. Literary scholars consider Chopin’s The Awakening as a subtle yet effective portrayal of women of the late 19th century and consider it as an important piece of the feminism movement....   [tags: Gender Roles]

Strong Essays
943 words (2.7 pages)

Gender Roles And Gender Inequality Essay

- Gender roles have greatly influenced the way human beings think and behave, including traditional stereotypes portraying men as strong and dominate, whereas the female been are submissive and unintelligent (Lovdal, 1989). Throughout history, gender stereotypes have particularly disadvantaged and discriminated against women in the workforce, at home, through education and in society as a whole causing inequality amongst the female gender (Clark, 1991). But as will be discussed, while stereotypical traditional gender roles and inequalities continue in society, ideologies on the issues are starting to change....   [tags: Gender, Gender role, Feminism, Sexism]

Strong Essays
1156 words (3.3 pages)

Gender Roles And Gender Inequality Essay

- Gender Roles The traditional gender roles have been slowly blurred over time. Traditional mid-20th-century American gender roles separate the roles of men and women within a household. Men were the head of household and then the women obeyed their husband. Within the last thirty years, the distinction between the two genders has slowly become equal in the workplace and in daily life. In the workplace, over the years gender inequality has become a big topic of discussion. The discussion of gender inequality ranged from wages to having the higher level positions within the job....   [tags: Gender, Gender role, Feminism, Woman]

Strong Essays
1126 words (3.2 pages)

Feminism And Gender Within Society Essay examples

- The discussion of feminism and gender within society is a controversial and often confusing subject within today’s world. While this conversation is not new whatsoever, it seems to be a hot one as we come to the end 2016. The subject brings forth many questions on how to break the barriers of gender roles and gender norms, and in addition stressing the importance to address these topics. As we look into the two articles: Raising Two Boys as Feminists Without a Mother and Against Silencing: Why All Writers—Even White Men—Should Discuss Gender, these two essays both speak on their own personal experiences facing a misogynistic society and their efforts dismantling gender norms....   [tags: Gender, Feminism, Gender role, Woman]

Strong Essays
957 words (2.7 pages)

Gender Roles Of Women And Women Essay

- Throughout our history it has been made evident that society has treated men and women differently. Masculinity has been the main factor the gender relations of society and female domesticity was common in family lives. Even today gender based double standards are thriving in society. From 18th century social standards to advertisements in the media today, double standards exist and evolved. Historically, the roles of men and women have evolved overtime. For thousands of years, static gender roles were the accepted norm....   [tags: Gender role, Gender, Woman, Feminism]

Strong Essays
788 words (2.3 pages)

Social Construction Of Gender Roles Essay

- This proposal will identify the social construction of gender roles for women as the “other” in the primary source writings of Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex and Arrogant Beggar by Anzia Yezierska. Beauvoir’s Second Sex provides a primary source evaluation of the historical distortion of women’s role in society as the “other” through patriarchal traditions that have no basis in genetics or science. Yezierska’s experiences as a Jewish woman in New York “workhouses” define the subjective gender roles assigned to women as being submissive and “invisible” in patriarchal American culture....   [tags: Gender role, Feminism, Gender, Sociology]

Strong Essays
978 words (2.8 pages)

Gender Roles in Russia and Cuba Essays

- Societies have always had traditional ways of life, such as, gender roles, celebrations, religions, educations, etc. Gender roles vary in different countries all around the world from relative status, labor, marriage, inheritance and socialization such as education and child care. As the years go by traditions begin to change, and people alter their ways of life. A wide variety of things are now more accepted in today’s time. Traditionally in the United States women are the nurtures and men are the money makers....   [tags: Gender Roles]

Strong Essays
1499 words (4.3 pages)

Gender Socialization and Gender Roles Essay

- Gender socialization and gender roles have always existed in society. When analyzing gender roles, they are not always equal or consistent when comparing cultures, however, the expectations of females and males are often times clearly defined with a little to no common area. The Japanese culture is an example of the defined gender roles that change over time. According to Schafer (2010), because “gender roles are society’s expectations of the proper behavior, attitudes, and activities of males and females”, they must be taught (p.357)....   [tags: gender roles, samurai, japanese culture]

Strong Essays
1183 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on The pre-feminism concept of gender differences

- “Girls go to Jupiter to get more ‘stupider’, boys go to Mars to get more candy bars!” A few of us may have heard this sort of unrefined phraseology during our grade school years, or possibly even uttered something similar (present company excluded, of course). While youthful taunts and jest often play around with and make light of gender superiority or bias, the subject has accumulated a much more serious tone in recent times. In education, academia, and the corporate workforce, the notion of gender differences has been defined, redefined, and defined again, in the pursuit of a single truth; How different are men and women, if any different at all....   [tags: Gender Roles, Gender Traits]

Strong Essays
1753 words (5 pages)