In To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee, it is vivid that gender roles were part of society in the 1930s. Scout Finch, a little girl, shows that being a girl doesn’t define her personality or actions. Although this book was published in 1960 and was set in the 1930s, the contention of gender roles is still prominent in today’s civilization.
“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” This is a quote from Atticus Finch, a courageous and wise character from Harper Lee 's novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. The story is told through the perspective of a young girl, Jean Louise ¨Scout¨ Finch. She lives with her older brother, Jeremy, and widowed father and prominent lawyer, Atticus, in Maycomb, Alabama during the time of the Great Depression. Throughout the novel, the children experience the injustice and prejudice of society through a tough case that their father was appointed to and are taught to respect and tolerate all people, despite their differences. To Kill A Mockingbird is influential in American culture through its portrayal of themes of prejudice, racism and innocence.
A theme in To Kill A Mockingbird that is seen throughout the entirety of novel is the theme of womanhood and femininity. It is mentioned many times that Scout needs to start acting more like a lady and doing more womanly things, rather than wear pants and play with the boys. While at the social at the Finch’s house Miss Stephanie felt the need to comment, “ ‘Well, you won’t get very far until you start wearing dresses more often.’ ”, (Lee, 308). In Maycomb a woman wouldn’t be respected unless she acted the way everyone wanted them to.
In the title of the book To Kill a Mockingbird, gender roles play a big part in the time that the book was written. There are many examples of people being told what they could and couldn’t do based on their gender, and insults thrown around that are gender-based.
Imagine one day you wake up and many of your constitutional rights, such as the right to vote, are gone. In Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Sexism plays a huge role in many scenarios throughout the story. For example, a quote in the novel states, “ ‘Scout, i’m tellin’ you for the last time to shut your trap or go home- I declare to the lord you’re gettin more like a girl every day.’ With that, I had no option but to join them.”(Lee Pg.69). This quote represents the fear that scout shows while trying to hide her femininity. It shows that scout believes that women have a minuscule amount of power, and that she needs to act like a boy for her to even be recognized by Jem as a member of the group. Gender equality is not fully intact, as shown explicitly throughout the novel.
Although To Kill A Mockingbird was written in the 1960s, Harper Lee incorporated her views on women and created characters that depicted different views on femininity in the 1930s, like Alexandra who believed in society’s view of a woman, and Miss Maudie, who managed to find a balance between her true self and society’s ideas and images.
Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, illustrates how women are restricted by societal expectations. Women and girls are expected to act a certain way, to be feminine and docile. After an argument between Jem and Scout, Jem goes as far to shout, “‘It’s time you started bein’ a girl and acting right!’” (Lee, 153). Jem believes that Scout should be cooperative and malleable to be a typical girl. He wants Scout to change who she is to fit his idea of what being a woman is about. In Jem’s mind, women and girls should not be opinionated and “rough”, they must be feminine and frail.
“I felt the starched walls of a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on me, and for the second time in my life, I thought of running away. Immediately.” She felt overwhelmed and felt as though she was being suffocated, even to the point of drowning in expectations. Another example of gender discrimination, or sexism, would be after the jury declares Tom Robinson guilty.
Ever since human existence was known, women weren’t treated the same as a man. They were told to stay inside, care for the kids, and look pretty, as a paying man’s job was considered “too hard” for them to accomplish. But, during the years leading up to 1920, women had enough of this, they rallied and marched with a simple message, to be treated equal to a man. Harper Lee’s book To Kill a Mockingbird, set in a 1930’s Alabama, covers women issues at various lengths. From Scout’s tomboyish attitude, gender inequality, and gender roles, Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird suggests that women should be able to have equal opportunities to men.
Advertisement has been a way to sell products for a long time, but it may not always come off as the best way to promote a product. Companies will do some of the most outrageous things to their advertisements just to make their product shine. In the documentary Killing Us Softly 4, Jean Kilbourne, she talks more about advertising and the negative impact it has on society and the negative messages it sends people. In the documentary, Kilbourne shows how advertising distorts the image of a women. They highlight horrible situations to make their advertisement pop. The distortion of women is almost always for the worst in many ways. Advertisement could change for the better if it did not sexualize everything, give an unrealistic expectation of
The average American will spend around a year and a half of their lives watching television commercials (Kilbourne 395). Presently advertisements are controlling our everyday lives. In Jean Kilbourne’s article: “Still Killing Us Softly: Advertising and the Obsession with Thinness”, she discusses how advertisements negatively portray women. This negative portrayal leads to self-hatred and a negative self-image for women. A major point of this is the idea of excessive thinness for women, which the advertising industry is dominantly influencing how women need to meet this standard. Kilbourne argues that advertising and the media cause women to believe this is the only standard and we must meet it. A recent advertisement in Glamour magazine for Kashi cereal “GoLEAN Crunch”, is a great example of how women are represented and materialized in today’s society. This advertisement supports and contradicts Kilbourne’s argument that advertisers depict women as powerless, in-shape and perfectly beautified to meet the standard created by the media.
Stereotyping is represented in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird through historical allusion. Tom Robinson, who was an innocent crippled handed and kind, was falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell. Consequently, he was put into trial. This trial, which alludes to Scottsboro trial, portrays white man’s stereotypical view of black man at that time. As black men in the 1930s were viewed as criminals and rapist, the trial ends with a death penalty to Robinson. Being black, Robinson did not get a fair trial because of the stereotypical prospect of the town people and jury. Robinson falls a victim to stereotyping and gets killed for something he did not do. Moreover, the title of the novel To Kill a Mocking bird alludes to Robinson. He was killed
In Killing Us Softly 4, Jean Kilbourne discusses the power of advertising and how it has facilitated and legitimized the objectification of women. As a woman and a former model, Kilbourne argues that advertisements are a powerful educational force because they are everywhere. Because of this, the message is quickly processed so it easier to influence someone’s subconscious. Advertisements are also powerful because they sell values and concepts telling society how women should look like.
Life is overfilled with messages, like weeds in a sea in unmaintained grass. Whether it’s warning a person, or pointing out a flaw; these little lessons are there to further grow the positive parts of that person’s personality. A simple demonstration of this is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. An old, children’s book serving no meaningingful purpose is what it may seem, nevertheless, it actually is a novel that offers a unique outtake on all aspects of human life. In the book, two children Jem and Scout, who learn about equality, racism, and social class through court cases, tea parties and more. The story offers many ideals, whether to improve upon something that is exist, or throw a new concept into the the air with various techniques,
One of the goals of the literary theory of Feminist Criticism is to highlight and expose the patriarchy and misogynist behaviors and beliefs towards women. This theory can be applied to many literary works, including Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. In the final moments of Tom Robinson’s trial, Atticus makes a speech to the jury. Throughout his speech, Atticus makes several comments on how Tom Robinson did not commit the crime at all, blaming Mayella Ewell for bringing a false statement to court. Atticus ensues that Mayella’s desire to form a relationship with Tom was “...stronger than the [racial] code she was breaking…” (Chapter 20, pg. 224), and that she had to “...destroy the evidence of her offense.” (Chapter 20, pg. 225). While it