Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

1145 words - 5 pages

To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee is novel set in a three year period through the ‘great depression’. Atticus Finch (Jem and scouts father) is originally portrayed as a friendly and understanding person, though when he attends court defending a ‘black man’ as his job, suddenly he and his family begin to suffer racial hatred from their community. The story features on the themes of racism, community morals and the realisation of certain truths whilst growing up. It is a fascinating novel with a great storyline full of drama and unexposed realities.

Racism was quite a predominant topic throughout the novel also relating in with symbolism. Their small commune consisted of both ‘white’ and ‘black’ people each with their own racial thoughts and views of each other. When Jem and Scout went to the black church a woman yelled out “You Ain’t got no business bringin’ white chillun here; they got their church, we out ours”. This just goes to show how their community in a way defines people by what colour their skin is, they have places which only they can go, and the ‘black’ people have their places where ‘white’ people are forbidden to go. When scout was talking to dill she mentioned “Well Dill, after all he’s just a negro”. After hearing a line like that it gives a bit of an impression as to what it’s been like for Scout growing up in this particular area and time. She’s grown up in a society which emphasises the fact the ‘black’ people are from a lower class and are not respected as much as ‘white’ people. The way she says it; “’just’ a ‘Nergro’” gives an impression about her situation with the fact that something like that would be accepted but if someone’s was to say that now, in our modern society and way of living, they would be called a racist and it wouldn’t be looked upon fondly. During the novel, Atticus once said “If I didn't (defend Tom Robinson in court) I couldn't hold my head up in town". This is quite sad to think that defending an innocent ‘black’ man can be marked as a symbol of disrespect to the ‘white’ people of their community, Even though Tom is innocent, the fact that he is ‘black’ supposedly imposes the fact that he is guilty of what he did.

The community is described as a slow paced town, with not much to see or do. “There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb county”. It seems as though this small town has a way of living of its own and there doesn’t seem to be much enforcement on things except for the division between the ‘negro’s’ and ‘white’ people. This setting description gives an example of some of the morals present in their community, some of them quite bleak. The Radley place is quite renowned throughout the whole town with many stories and suspicions about the place.
The community described it as “inhabited by unknown entry”, “rain-rotten shingles’, “a ‘swept’ yard that was never swept” and with such...

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