To Kill A Mockingbird Cultural Analysis

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In Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee presents a large social atmosphere that includes many different cultures and extremes. The story takes place in the southern town of Maycomb, Alabama during the Great Depression. This novel illustrates how the southerners perceived different ideas about each other and social norms. It is told through the eyes of a young girl, Scout Finch, as she is growing up and becoming influenced by societal attitudes. Throughout the course of this book Scout learns many lessons including: how a society functions, why there is conflict between different cultures, and what makes cultures different from each other. Harper Lee utilizes functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism to convey how…show more content…
The conflict perspective describes a theoretical framework in which society is viewed as composed of groups that are competing for scarce resources . Since the title of the book is “To Kill a Mockingbird” Mockingbirds are used to represent innocent creatures that are mistreated or “Killed”, which relates back to the main theme of the book which is the destruction of innocence. the author gives some examples of mockingbirds such as Tom Robinson. Though he was blantly innocent, since Tom was a negro man accused of raping a white woman he loses. A substantial amount of evidence and witnesses proved that he did not commit the crime, however he was still found guilty. This aggravates Scout as she comes to learn the hard way on class conflict. In To Kill a Mockingbird it is a conflict of races, black versus white. There is a part in the story where Calpurnia, the family's housekeeper, takes them to her African American church. A black woman named Lula states to Calpurnia as she is bringing Jem and Scout to church, “ You ain't got no business bringing’ white children- they have their church and we got ours. Its our church ain't it miss Cal?” This illustrates that even some of the black citizens held racial discriminate views. This is a good example of counter culture because the colored citizens of Maycomb essentially create their own society to combat the racism so that way the rest…show more content…
Scout learns this lesson through the sociological perspective of social interactionism. In one part of the book Scout invites a young boy named Walter Cunningham from her class to have lunch with her family. Walter is a farm boy who is very scrawny and uneducated due to helping his poor father on the farm. He explains this to Atticus during lunch, “Reason I can’t pass the first grade, Mr. Finch, is I’ve had to stay out ever‘ spring an’ help Papa with the choppin‘, but there’s another at the house now that’s field size.” Scout learns that the reason why Walter is skinny and always looking for food is because his family is poor. It is because of Cunningham’s low income and little education, his social status is lowered. Again innocence is destroyed because due to Walter’s low income he is unable to advance in the social status because he is forced to help his father make ends meet while not being able to further his education. It creates an endless cycle of each descendent getting stuck in the same situation as Walter not being able to rise to higher levels of statuses. In relation to this, the farmers who are in the same social status try to kill Tom Robinson before the trial. “You know what we want, another man said, Get aside from the door, Mr. Finch.” “You can turn around and go home again, Walter,” Atticus said pleasantly. “Heck Tate’s around somewhere.” (Lee 153).
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