Indirect and Direct Characterization on “To Kill a Mockingbird”
“The novel titled, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee is a story set in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the depression in the 1930s. The story is told by a little six-year-old girl, Jean Louise Finch nicknamed Scout. She is a rebellious girl who has tomboy tendencies. Scout lives with her elder brother Jem, and her father, Atticus, who is widowed. The book follows the family for three years where it discusses the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man, Tom Robinson, who is accused of raping a white woman. It also mentions how Scout and Jem befriend a boy named Dill who becomes fascinated with the spooky house on their street called the Radley Place. The house is owned by Mr. Nathan Radley, whose son Arthur (Boo), has lived there for years without venturing outside. To Kill A Mockingbird depicts discrimination against race and gender by showing examples of each of these in the everyday lives of the Finches and reveals why the novel is still relevant today.
In To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee illustrates discrimination against race by displaying many examples throughout the book, in the lives of the Finch family. One example of this is when Scout is at Finch’s Landing for Christmas. During her visit one of her cousins named Francis approaches her and says, I guess it ain’t your fault if Uncle Atticus is a nigger-lover besides, but I’m here to tell you it certainly does mortify the rest of the family’ (Lee 83).
This is one instance of race discrimination because it shows how people are now hating on Atticus for defending a black man. So, this goes to show that even Atticus’ own family is talking bad about him just because his client is colored which is extremely racist. Another example of this is when after Tom Robinson was named guilty and Atticus had to explain to Jem how in the world that could be possible and said, In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins’ (Lee 220). This shows race discrimination because even the courts back then would favor white men over people who were colored. This was not okay because if it’s a matter of life or death people shouldn’t have to die just because of the color of their skin. Finally, race discrimination is one of many types of discrimination that occurred in Finch’s lives.
In the book, Harper Lee reveals many instances of gender discrimination and how it affects the everyday lives of a specific family during the 1930s. When Dill and Jem wanted to look through the shutter of the Radley place Scout began to protest this idea and Jem said, ‘Scout, I’m 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!’ (Lee 51).
Here, through gender discrimination, Jem uses it to get his way to insult Scout about her acting like a girl. Whenever she does something he does not as he gets away with bringing up the whole girl stereotype argument by calling her a girl. I doubt if we’d ever get a complete case tried–the ladies be interrupting to ask questions’ (Lee 220). This is another example of how the author demonstrates gender discrimination in To Kill A Mockingbird because the “polite fiction” of the South is that women are delicate and need to be protected. Maybe the men are really just afraid that women would use power in a way that men wouldn’t like. Thus, Harper Lee shows multiple examples of race and gender discrimination through the life of Scout.
The novel also reveals effects of race and gender discrimination today by describing examples that are still relevant. In an article titled, Racism and its effects on society on be-utd.org it talks about how still to this date there are Families of a certain color or racial group living in poverty and poor conditions, unable to rise out of their disadvantaged state through the prejudice of employers which keeps them in low-paid positions. (be-utd.org 2018). This connects with the book because during the book they talk about the place where the colored folk lives and how they live in poverty and have very little money.
This important because it demonstrates how there are still some forms of racial discrimination happening in our world today. In another article titled, Gender discrimination comes in many forms for today’s working women on pewresearch.org they talk about how, one-in-four working women (25%) say they have earned less than a man who wa doing the same job (pewresearch.org 2018). Although, in the 1930s it was not very popular for women to work at all, still today women are having trouble being paid the same as a man. This proves that there is still such thing as gender discrimination in our world today.
In conclusion, To Kill A Mockingbird depicts discrimination against race and gender. It does this by showing examples of each of these in the everyday lives of the Finches and reveals why the novel is still relevant today. The novel has many examples of race and gender discrimination however we need to be aware that this still continues today. The discrimination may not be as bad as the 1930s but it is still important and needs to me diminished. People should not have to feel less important or valued because of their race or gender. Sooner or later we must realize that we must develop a tolerance or understanding for those who are different from ourselves. We must raise anew generation of tolerant individuals who embrace diversity and value all members of society equally.
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