Women and Social Change in Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

Topics: Harper Lee, Truman Capote, To Kill a Mockingbird Pages: 3 (1039 words) Published: September 20, 2014

Haper Lee’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ was first published in the 1960’s which was an era famous for radical change in the United States both culturally and politically as bit by bit both women and african americans were gaining power in a society predominantly governed by rich, white men. ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ can almost be regarded as a form of propaganda in favour of women’s rights as well as those of the african american community. Although things were changing, Harper Lee still needed to be careful as to how she got her message across. Cleverly, she manages to get away with the things she says, using the medium of fictional characters, such as Miss Maudie or Calpurnia, and more importantly innocent children, for example Scout. In order to give the novel a sense of realism however, there are many characters who do not advocate this type of social change such as the Ewell family or, in some aspects, Aunt Alexandra.

In a sense, Scout is essentially the personification of the social change to come and a model society. Her naivety due mostly to her youth enables her to interact with the community without prejudice. When Jem recounts to Scout what he thinks about the different social classes in Maycomb, discriminating between ‘regular’ people and ‘the negroes’, Scout responds with, “Naw, Jem, I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.” Although neither she nor Jem realise it this is a deeply profound quote because in it’s simplest form she is saying that everybody is equal. Although brushed off by most adults in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ as immaturity, Scout’s thoughts could be viewed as a form of maturity because, unlike many key members of the community, she does not worry about inconsequential and superficial matters such as sex or race but recognises their attitude and their character. Scout also has a very inquisitive mind and unlike most children her age, she does not simply blindly agree with tradition, she questions everything she is told and...
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