Here is the answer and explanation to the question What has Harper Lee been pointing out about society in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?
What has Harper Lee been pointing out about society in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?
Through the education of Scout, Lee shows the reader a different narrative of what it was like in school. Scout’s experiences in school are contrary to their actual experience and how they were expected to be. This brings attention to the fact that only one type of class is shown, and that there are many other types of classes out there. This is simply a way for Harper Lee to make her point about the uselessness of classes such as Home Ecomony, which really does not prepare students for life outside of home economics.
Harper Lee comments on several aspects of society throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee draws attention to the inefficient, rigid educational system by depicting Scout’s negative school experiences in the first and third grade. Lee suggests that a moral education is more useful than the mundane, hypocritical lessons teachers give students.
Harper Lee also comments on gender roles throughout the novel. Aunt Alexandra’s traditional views of womanhood contrast greatly with Scout’s tomboy personality. The prototypical Southern Belle, who maintains the house and engages in social affairs, is challenged throughout the novel.
Religion is another aspect of society that Lee analyzes. Lee comments on the destructive nature of radical Christianity through the character of Mr. Radley, and portrays the dual nature of hypocritical Christians during Alexandra’s missionary circle. Lee suggests that truly moral individuals like Atticus and Maudie live like Christ, rather than simply profess they are Christians.
Most notably, Harper Lee comments on the prejudiced nature of society and the broken justice system. African Americans are viewed with contempt and treated with indignance simply because they are black. Tom Robinson is wrongly convicted, despite the lack of evidence and conflicting testimonies from the Ewells. The majority of Maycomb’s community harbors prejudiced feelings which impact the results of the trial. The justice system fails Tom Robinson, and racism remains an issue in Maycomb.
Not only are African Americans viewed with contempt, but so are poor white families. Harper Lee does not fail to address society’s caste system which discriminates against less wealthy families throughout the novel as well.
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