How Does Harper Lee Use Irony In To Kill A Mockingbird

1131 Words5 Pages
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses characterization, symbolism, and irony to express the cloud in judgment prejudice causes when examining the morals of others. Scout is able to understand more about the town folk in Maycomb County through studying her teacher’s ironic and corrupted views of life around her. Lee uses Miss Gates, Scout’s teacher, to allow Scout a chance to understand the complexity of the adult world. While teaching the class about the Holocaust, Gates expresses the injustice being done to the Jews. She teaches the children that the town does not “believe in persecuting anybody” (Lee 329) because of the U.S. democratic government. Gates then goes on to share how “there are no better people in the world than Jews” (Lee 329), and it is beyond her comprehension to know why Hitler could commit acts against them. The irony lies in her blindness to the similar oppression happening in her home town. The children are taught that Hitler is a monster for his anti semitic actions in Germany; meanwhile, African Americans are forced to face daily suppression in Maycomb County. Both groups have stereotypes that cause others to perceive them as…show more content…
Lee uses Miss Gates’s ironic views of Hitler and Tom’s trial to show how racial prejudice causes crimes against African Americans to be considered less than crimes committed against white people. A mockingbird is then used to symbolize Tom Robinson as an innocent person wrongly convicted of a crime because of his skin color. The misunderstood characterization of Arthur Radley shows how society will let prejudice guide their imaginated view on the lives of people they don't understand. All three characters provide examples of how a preconceived opinion of one person or a whole race can cause drastic misunderstandings and
Open Document