The prejudice that is demonstrated throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee reveals how a community views certain groups of people. As one reads through the book To Kill a Mockingbird they see that sexism is revealed from the very beginning of the text. The author of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, points out, “Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum powder,” (Lee 5).
In To Kill A Mockingbird, Lee has shown us how sexism affects the everyday lives of females. One example of this was when Miss Caroline tried to send Burris Ewell home, Burris Ewell hollered at her. “Report and be damned to ye! Ain’t no snot-nosed slut of a schoolteacher ever born c’n make me do nothin’! You ain’t makin’ me go nowhere, missus” (Lee 37).
“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” - Friedrich Nietzsche. Is that true? Does adversity really change people for the better? Going through tough situations can give individuals a new kind of strength, emotional strength, which lends them a chance to grow and mature.
In “To Kill a Mockingbird,” there are many different ways people treat others, and associate reputations with people. One certain factor is gender, like how Aunt Alexandra thinks Scout should be acting “like a lady.” The rights and roles of women in the South during the early twentieth century were often biased and based societal gender roles. Women were judged on and placed in certain positions in the South during this time. Now for the most part women were not involved in or part of government.
Throughout the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, one can see double standards for men and women frequently. Gender expectations took a hold of the Maycomb, Alabama; the fictional county in which this novel takes place. Looking back in history, it was always the women staying home, cleaning, cooking and taking care of the children. Men were always perceived as the superior sex. It was abnormal to see females wearing breeches or pants.
In the novel, ‘To kill a mockingbird, Harper Lee demonstrates the small, imaginary town, the Maycomb County, as a place where racism and social inequality happens in the background of 1930s America. Not only the segregation between whites and blacks, but also the poor lived in a harsh state of living. As Scout, the young narrator, tells the story, Lee introduces and highlights the effects of racism and social inequality on the citizens of Maycomb County by using various characters such as Boo Radley, Tom Robinson, and Mayella Ewell. Firstly, Harper Lee portrays Boo Radley as a victim of social inequality through adjectives and metaphor in the phrase, “There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten;” ‘Long jagged scar that ran across his face’ tells us that Boo Radley has stereotype about his appearance, which forces to imagine Boo as a scary and threatening person. The phrase, ‘yellow and rotten’ make the readers think as if Boo Radley is poor and low in a social hierarchy, as he cannot afford to brush his teeth.
In Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”, the issue of Southern Womanhood is brought up many times throughout the novel. Lee uses many different characters to help show how she viewed Southern Womanhood. Specifically she uses, Scout, Mayella Ewell, and Scout’s Aunt Alexandra. In "To Kill A Mockingbird", Harper Lee uses specific characters to show how negative of an impact Southern Womanhood used to have. Harper Lee uses Scout in many cases to show how she thought Southern Womanhood used to have a negative impact.
Race has always been a part of history, from slavery to MLK, to Barack Obama. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee defines race in the south during the 1930’s. Jean “Scout” Finch, is the narrator of the story. Her brother Jeremy “Jem” and her dad, Atticus, are both main characters. Calpurnia is their house cook and helper, she is also black.
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, is set in the 1960’s, a time when men and women had specific and restrictive roles in society. Men were the ones to work and earn money for their families and women were expected to a caring and obedient homemakers. In many ways, those gender stereotypes are still very present today. The contrasting opinions of Atticus Finch and Aunt Alexandra provide the reader with the different views on how men and women should be raised, which in turn, affects the readers thoughts and opinions on the gender expectations and roles that are present in today’s society.
To Kill A Mockingbird portrays many types of prejudice such as sexism, lifestyle and racism. Sexism is represented through respect and roles of genders. Women were considered weak, they were expected to be elegant and ladylike. It was expected that women stay home and care for the house and children. Jem would often tease Scout for being a girl.
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
Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird famously said in his closing arguments: "You know the truth, and the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some negro men are not to be trusted around women- black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and no particular race of men." (pg 232) What Atticus is trying to convey is a foreign concept to most people in Maycomb county. Atticus is trying to convey a point of equality and no prejudice in a world of social inequality which, as one can imagine, didn 't go over so well.
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.
The women in To Kill a Mockingbird have important roles but very few of them. Many women in To Kill a Mockingbird have responsibilities to take care of the children and care for the Orr residents of the house they live in. Calpurnia for example. Calpurnia is the black female cook for the finch household. However, she does not just cook.
This proved when the narrator’s mother always tried to get the narrator to do work that appropriate for a lady instead of outside work, however it was not something that she enjoyed. The narrator also was not considered of real helper to her father because she was a female. This proved when her father introduced the narrator as ‘his new hired hand’ to a salesman, he replied, “I thought it was only a girl” (line 76, paragraph 10).This shows how the society view girl as ‘just a girl’ at that time and it means that their roles are not really significant in the society. As being said by Alexander Pope (1688-1744), “Most women have no character at all.” (Bressler, C.E., 2011).