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An Analysis of To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird is a narrative written by Harper Lee. By definition T.K.A.M is a mediated presentation of a causally connected series of actions involving characters in conflict. Harper Lee uses mediation to create a theme that illustrates the injustices of prejudice, intolerance, and quick judgments of others.
Harper Lee choose the setting as an imaginary (Maycomb) county in Alabama during the 1930's. She set the story during this time because it was a time of social turbulence , and a time when Americans began to start thinking about more modern social issues.
Harper Lee chose to tell the book from the eyes of Scout, because Scout's innocence and young age allow her to have a pure, untainted view on any event that takes place. In general, Scout observes, but has no preconception of the events that develop. Scout's point of view was also chosen because as a child, she can find the smallest bit of goodness that exists in anyone. For a child, it is easier to see the shades of gray of someone's character. A child cannot cite someone's age or gender etc... as a cause for their problems or shortcomings. After examining every character in the book through the eyes of Scout, not one character has made a conscious decision to be evil.
The first character to be judged swiftly and wrongly is the Finch's neighbor Boo Radley. Boo is introduced as a hermit that lives shut up in his house, completely isolated from the outside world. Dill, Jem, and Scout spend most of their free time either ridiculing Boo or trying to lure him out of his house. By using the children's innocent fear of the unknown, Harper Lee succeeds in demonstrating the basis of all prejudice.In the end, the Finch's bizarre neighbor becomes a hero and saves the children from almost certain death. While the children imagined and concluded Boo was a monster of some sort, he ends up saving the children of whom he knows almost nothing about. This part also brings about a decision where abiding by the law would be an injustice.
Harper Lee introduces and portrays Bob Ewell as a villainous and evil man, but she creates Bob in this way to illustrate how judgment is too quickly made. Harper Lee begins to unfolds the root of Bob's anger.
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Harper Lee purposely creates Maycomb as a town separated by race. By creating Maycomb in this way she illustrates the racism that divides the town. Harper Lee begins by showing the bitterness that remains in the whites five decades after the end of slavery. This bitterness is best illustrated by the way that the way blacks are still oppressed, not by force but by fear and suppression. By convincing the blacks that they are worthless and that they will never amount to anything, the blacks do not try to achieve greatness either because they do not think they can, or the whites force them not to. Calpurnia, the Finch's servant seems to be exceptionally bright, but because she is black and a woman she cannot get a better job. The whites belittle and harass the blacks to try and makeup for their own problems and ignorance. This racial tension preludes and causes Tom Robinson's case. From the beginning almost everybody knows Tom is telling the truth but the case becomes whether or not a black man is equal to a white man. In the final decision it is the prejudice of the jury that send an innocent man to prison. The jury decides that the testimony of Tom, a kind and gentle black man, is inferior to that of two whites with a doubtful reputation. The conclusion of the Tom Robinson's case ends with Tom being shot repeatedly while trying to escape despite his crippling injury. And so, in the end Tom's "escape" is used as an excuse for his death while he was really murdered for being black.
Harper Lee uses Scout as a way of illustrating the woman were expected to behave and act. Harper Lee modeled the missionary circle after "proper southern ladies", who sit sipping tea, fanning, and gossiping.
Scout who is independent and headstrong is considered "unladylike." By her Aunt Alexandra. Basically, the qualities that make Scout so strong are deemed unladylike and so it is concluded that a woman should be a docile follower. Harper Lee places Mrs. Maudie outside this circle, as a lady but at the same time an observer who does not speak to support or oppose the other ladies. Lastly, an underlying part of Tom's trial is how southern womanhood is a great virtue. What little respect that is given to Mayella is given traditionally because she is a woman. Harper Lee succeeds in showing us the place of a lady in Maycomb, anywhere but the business of Maycomb.
Harper Lee uses all of the judgments and prejudice in Maycomb to paint a vivid picture of a town that clings to past and the way things have always been. Harper Lee's descriptions show the fault in the townspeople ability to examine the present and progress into the future.