Breaking Away In To Kill A Mockingbird

1177 Words5 Pages
Breaking Away
Even though Letty Cottin Pogrebin, an American author and social activist, recently stated, “When men are oppressed, it’s a tragedy. When women are oppressed it’s tradition,” in recent times, women decades ago experienced even greater prejudice (Deborah, Golda, and Me). In Harper Lee’s 1930s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee discusses the tradition of inequality between men and women. The protagonist and narrator, Jean Louise Finch, also known as Scout, lives in a time when women are expected to be perfect Southern ladies. She must to be charming, submissive to the men around her, and always in need of a man’s protection. Scout’s Aunt Alexandra is unable to separate herself from society’s traditions, leaving her dependent on
…show more content…
In the 1930s, it was typical for whites and blacks to not interact. Many people in Maycomb consider those who intermingle with blacks and whites as outcasts. Calpurnia lives something similar to a “double life.” Even though society expects the two races to be separate, Calpurnia spends time with the Finch family, who are white, and her own family, which is black. When Calpurnia spends time with both groups of people, Scout referrers to her as “having command of two languages” (167). Calpurnia’s act of coexisting in two worlds is something the people of Maycomb do not accept in their social standards. She accepts white and black people even though she is aware of the risks involved with her actions. When Calpurnia acts differently than most people in her society, she disrupts society’s traditions of never mixing the two races. Although Calpurnia is pressured into living like the people around her, she continues to live her life the way she wants. Calpurnia knows that she cannot change the way everyone deals with society’s pressures, but by detaching herself from the cultural norms she is taking a step closer to…show more content…
Although Aunt Alexandra does not possess the strength to detach from the social customs, Scout and Calpurnia are able to cast off the conventional roles despite society’s wishes. Calpurnia’s act of successfully living in black and white communities and Scout’s act of defying typical gender roles illustrates to the reader how immensely society pressures women. Although the expectations of women in modern times are not the same as in southern Alabama, women are still oppressed today. It is not always clear to see, but women today are so used to acting a certain way, they are unable to recognize the inequality between genders and races. Through Aunt Alexandra the reader is able to grasp, that not every woman is capable of having the incredible amount of strength it takes to break away from the socially accepted roles. Although there might never be equality between the two sexes, the one way to make a step closer to egalitarianism is to learn from Calpurnia’s and Scout’s actions and breakdown the cultural
Open Document