How Does Lee Use Gender Stereotypes In To Kill A Mockingbird

778 Words4 Pages

When children were younger, they were always told to act a certain way. They had to act their age, if the child were a woman you had to be ladylike, and being a tomboy simply was not accepted, especially in older times. However, Scout did not follow these set of rules. From the way she talked, to the way she dressed, to the way she played, Scout defied the set of standards of everyday southern women. However, this did not come easy. Throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee has her protagonist, Scout, explore the southern expectation of women.
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Aunt Alexandra tells Scout to act like a lady and wear dresses so she can “Be a ray of sunshine in her father’s lonely life.” (Lee, 108). Scout takes this harshly, claiming that she can “be a ray of sunshine in pants just as well” (Lee, 108) Actually, Scout does not respond well to any suggestions of femininity, preferring to read instead of sew, pants instead of dresses, and playing with balls instead of dolls. Scout lives in a rural Southern town, during the Great Depression. Because of this type of setting, society strictly dictates gender stereotypes, and crossing the barrier between masculinity and femininity is practically unheard of. Lee stated that in Maycomb “ladies bathed before noon, after their 3 o’clock …show more content…

For example, in the slums that the Ewell’s live in, Bob constantly shows patriarchal force over Mayella. Not only does he give her a black eye and an arm full of bruises, he forces her to accuse Tom of rape. Likewise, other groups also aware by gender stereotypes. When Jem discusses the details of the alleged rape, Reverend Sykes says “this ain’t a polite thing for little ladies to hear”.(Lee, 279) Reverend Sykes, one of the leaders of the African-American community, suggests that ladies are fragile, and should be protected from societies dirtier aspects, aspects that men can freely

Open Document