Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, is a realistic story that deeply discusses issues involved with the 1930’s that still resonate today. The struggles of life are evident within the believable characters of Maycomb County which is a microcosm, reflective of universal issues. Along with the authentic characters, setting and style also helps to convey Lee’s controversial notions of racial and gender prejudice, and persecution of the innocent, discussing many other ideas within.
Lee comments on the issues of racial and gender prejudice by following the struggles of authentic characters such as Scout, Tom Robinson and the persecutors Aunt Alexandra and Ewell. Scouts character does not value the social expectations of women and their
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“…a dirty yard containing the remains of a ford, a discarded dentist’s chair, an ancient icebox, plus lesser items: old shoes, worn out table radios and fruit jars under which scrawny orange chickens pecked hopefully.” The connotation of Lee’s adjectives illustrates the Ewell’s as complete trash. They live amongst rubbish and this reflects their moral values and their social status. The adverb ‘hopefully’ reinforces the destitute state they live in. The immediate, stark contrast makes prominent the obvious preferred choice of setting making the unjustified prejudice in Maycomb evident when the Ewell’s side is taken. “We were licked a hundred years before we started.” Atticus being the character that drive’s lees morals throughout the story displays the other side of Maycomb, the ones that see all as equal. This is expressed through Atticus’s character and emphasized through techniques in the dialogue throughout the text. We see that despite good morals and values shown through Scouts explanation of setting that racial prejudice is pure discrimination of skin colour/race and matters none of the family values or individual morals and pride. This inescapable factor displays the struggles the black community must endure.
Lee’s morals and thoughts of ‘persecuting the innocent’ are expressed through the symbolic technique of expressing characters such