To Kill a Mockingbird Social Inequality

In “To Kill a Mockingbird” Harper Lee covers many social issues that are occurring in the 1930’s in the town of Maycomb. In Lee’s book, adventures are tainted by the reality that Maycomb is filled with racism, poverty, gossip, elitism, and injustice. Child abuse, which is a big topic, must be discussed because of how much we don’t talk about the topic. Child abuse can occur especially when living in poverty but doesn’t mean all poor people abuse their love ones. Mayella who is a victim of abuse from her father, Bob Ewell who just might be mentally ill. Child abuse affects how one grows up. The issue child abuse relates to Mayella. Mayella’s father, Bob Ewell, who has abused his daughter and has neglected his children, has lost his ways.

Parents who don’t want to acknowledge their own failures in life can cause child abuse, and Bob Ewell abuses his daughter Mayella because he wants to feel power again. He wants to feel the authority he use to have. Atticus says to Scout “the Ewell’s have been the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations. None of them have done an honest day’s work in his recollections … they were people, but they lived like animals.”(Page 33) This shows up that they never tried putting in hard work, they wanted everything handed to them. The townspeople consider the Ewell’s to be the lowest of the low. Bob Ewell was always looked down upon as ‘trash’. He was such a failure that he failed to provide for his children. Lee demonstrated how lazy Bob Ewell was by saying, “… he was the only man I ever heard of who was fired from the WPA for laziness”(Page 284) this just proves Ewell didn’t have his life in order and didn’t have his priorities straight.

Bob Ewell was known for spending his relief checks on liquor while his children are crying from hunger. He was always looking for someone to blame, always looking for a target. Bob Ewell was always unsuccessful and he couldn’t bare the thought of him losing. For example Bob Ewell tried to kill Atticus’s children out of revenge and rage because he blames Atticus for all his loses. However, Bob Ewell never learned from his mistakes that at the end it resulted in his death. He blames everyone for his failure that he failed to realize he was the problem all along.

In Lee’s book the specific problem is sexual abuse, which causes Mayella to struggle with trust. Mayella was nineteen who had to grow up and take care of all the other children. Mayella lived in fear of her father but failed to tell anyone or ask for help. Since Mayella wasn’t raised properly this lead her to accuse an innocent man of a capital crime. She kissed a black man which was in her society was ‘unspeakable.’ Mayella was unknown to what love was and she was seeking that comfort from someone other than her father Bob Ewell who was always taking advantage of her. Mayella was a very lonely individual who had. She’s never been properly respected that she doesn’t recognize it when others are being kind to her. For example when Atticus is questioning her on the stand he says, “Miss Mayella,” he said, smiling…” and Mayella responds with “Wont answer a word you say long as you keep on mockin’ me”. (Page 206) She lacks social abilities that she doesn’t understand that Atticus was showing her respect and she couldn’t even recognize that. Adults fail to realize that when young adults who have been treated poorly by them they tent to really struggle with trust, a required tenant of friendship. Mayella had no one to turn to. In Lee’s book she said, “She says she never kissed a grown man before… She says that what her daddy do to her don’t count” (Page 221) Shows us just how abusive her father has been to her and the pain she’s had to endure. When Atticus questions her about her fathers drinking she mentions that there have been occasions when her father has been less than tolerable, to her. The abuse his daughter has had to encounter and the fact that Bob Ewell has probably had sexual relations with her while she has no one to turn to. Leaves us to wonder weather Bob Ewell was the one to rape and beat his own daughter Mayella all while they accuse an innocent man.

Throughout our lives many people influence us as we grow. One of the major influences children have in their lives comes from our very own parents. In the novel “To Kill A Mockingbird”, it gives us an example how a parent can be a major influence in a child’s life. One example is Bob Ewell, father of Mayella, he plays the drunken, abusive, and neglectful father. He is an example of how a parent can be a negative influence on them, which can lead them down the same path he’s going. In chapter 18 Mayella is called to the stand to testify. She is asked a series of questions by Atticus, but fails to be courageous enough to tell the truth and stand up to her controlling father; “My paw’s never touched a hair o’ my head in my life”… “He never touched me”. (Page 209) This statement is clearly not true, but she feel’s somewhat forced to lie because she is intimidated by her father. Mayella seeing the kind of parent her father is can determine many aspects of her live and can determine how shell live up the rest of her life. On the bright side she has time, time in which she can change her ways and lead by example to her siblings she has cared for so long now.

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