Sexism In To Kill A Mockingbird

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Maya Angelou once said, “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.” Prejudice is a dark stain on our society. Just like the spider, it makes everywhere its home. Its specialty is creeping into a person’s mind and teaching them how to insult, criticize, and condemn. During the 1960s, in southern society, discrimination was stronger than ever. In her novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Lee portrays prejudice as a contagious disease that infects Maycomb’s citizens through its numerous pathogens including sexism, classism, and racism.
Lee sketches the pervasive influence of sexism, emphasizing how older woman fortify gender roles in the younger generation. According to Scout’s Aunt Alexandra,
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On her first day of school after Scout returns from lunch, she looks surprised at the scene unfolding in front of her; Ms. Caroline is, “standing in the middle of the room, sheer horror flooding her face” after seeing a lice, or more colloquially a “cootie,” climbing out of Burris Ewell’s hair. Even though Miss Caroline is sickened by Burris’ poor hygiene, the rest of the class does not seem agitated. This is distinctly proved when Little Chuck, one of Scout’s classmates, says, “There ain’t no need to fear, a cootie, ma’am. Ain’t you ever seen one?” Scout then observes his physical appearance; “his neck was dark gray, the backs of his hands were rusty, and his fingernails were black deep into the quick.” Burris Ewell’s physical description reveals that he must work alongside adults to earn money for his family which indicates his low status and poor living condition. According to Aunt Alexandra’s rigid understanding of society, this makes even the Cunningham’s, who aren’t as poor, lesser members of the community. She criticizes Walter’s poor living condition by telling Scout, “Because he is trash, that’s why you can’t play with him. I’ll not have you around him, picking up his habits and learning Lord-knows what.” The Ewell’s and Cunningham’s, in this regard, share similarities with…show more content…
In her Pulitzer Prize winner novel, she sketches the image of a town of injustice and inequality, where prejudice, specifically racism, classism and sexism, runs through people’s veins and shapes their everyday life. She clarifies her points through several incidents in the novel such as Tom’s death to show how prejudice and especially racism can be a fate-determiner. Even nowadays, this contagious disease is stills deeply embedded in people’s thoughts and would never stop its hunt to destroy innocent and naïve minds, and as Judith Light once said, “Bigotry or prejudice in any form is more than a problem; it is a deep-seated evil within our
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