Classism In To Kill A Mockingbird

Good Essays
“You never understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” This quote by Atticus Finch describes the nature of the book To Kill a Mockingbird. In the book the reader gets to see the true side of Maycomb by seeing everything through the eyes of the protagonist Scout Finch. To Kill a Mockingbird gives the reader a true look at the racism, sexism, and classism deeply rooted in Maycomb culture, by letting them see the reality of others’ lives. Racism is common practice in Maycomb. People fear being near or being associated with someone of a race other than white. You find racism everywhere, even in places racism should never be. For example, Tom Robinson, a kind…show more content…
People can judge you just by your last name or what kind of clothes you're wearing. Your class sets the course for where your life is to go, and whether or not you will succeed. Maycomb specifically has a family named the Ewells. “Every town the size of Maycomb had families like the Ewells. NO economic fluctuations changed their status- people like the Ewells lived as guests of the county.” The Ewells were often considered white trash and repulsive, everyone knew that. Every person in the Ewell family was treated poorly no matter what kind of person they were. Their class determined their friend group, their money, everything. They are a perfect example of Maycomb’s class bias. Another example of class bias would be the Finches. They are on the other side of the spectrum. The Finches are well respected and considered upper class - their father is a lawyer and they have a rich bloodline. Ms. Dubose, a strong-opinionated bigot, would address their class through insults such as “A Finch waiting on tables at the O.K. Cafe--- hah!” The idea of them working such a low class, low paying job sounds like a joke. With their class they should be getting jobs that “matter” such as being a lawyer or in scout’s case, a housewife. Finally, there are the Cunninghams. “The Cunninghams never took anything they can’t pay back-- no church baskets and no scrip stamps. They never took anything off of anybody, they get along on what they have. They don't have…show more content…
The sexism is often subtle but is always effective in getting the point across that you should just “act like a lady” or “man up.” For example Scout,a young girl that dresses like a “tomboy”, is constantly asked queries such as “What are you doing in those overalls?” You should be in a dress and camisole, young lady. You’ll grow up waiting on tables if somebody doesn’t change your ways.” She is told that if she does not dress like a lady she will be forced to work due to the fact that she will not get a husband. Girls in Maycomb are told that if they don't act like a southern belle that they will never be successful, will never marry, and will never be respected. Even young boys thought “that girls always imagined things, that’s why other people hated them” Boys would tell this to girls to make them think that being a girl makes them not as fun or less important, and that all girls acted a certain way and that if you wanted to be a girl you had to act that way. Even other women told young girls like scout to act like a lady Aunt Alexandra said “[Scout] could not possibly hope to be a lady if she wore breeches.” Scout then said she “could do nothing in a dress”. Aunt Alexandra said “She wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants.” Aunt Alexandra had the same message that women were supposed to play the role of a lady and
Get Access