American History: The Dark Past
Unique characters, stimulating story plot and surprising endings are some reasons people in literature believe the two novels To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck have maintained their long standing positions in American literature. Readers and critics alike spend much time searching for what distinguishes these novels from others. As plain and old these books may seem, their messages are not. To some, the messages of these novels are about the inspiring, exhilarating, and uplifting history of this country. But in this case, it is the polar opposite. Throughout these novels, racism, sexism, and many other themes are exhibited as the norm for the characters. Readers often forget that these dark aspects of the past are a part of America’s history. Spanning from the start of early civilization, humans have made many mistakes and to stop this vicious cycle, they have to learn from the past by keeping classics like these part of school curriculums.
After the required novels in their English classes, students unanimously agree that classics are overrated and outdated. They claim that the themes exhibited throughout the book create a monotonous tone and plot. However, these are what gives the novels their energy and unique depth. In both Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird, the theme of racism is focused on. Racism is a controversial issue for all skin colors and is still prominent in the 21st century.
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The act of prejudice is one that everyone experiences. Whether it be, a person who is distributing hate, or a person who is receiving hate, everyone has contact with it. Although it is present all over the globe, it is prominent in the United States. Both in the present and the past, endless acts of discrimination have taken place and left a monumental impact on the country. The effect that it leaves can be seen in the novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. In this story, sexism, racism, and isolation, are demonstrated in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930’s. As the story progresses, Lee compares these concepts to one another and uses them to make a statement about the problematic nature in America.
The book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is often associated with a various number of themes such as racism, social inequality, the importance of family values, and much more. But one of the more hidden messages of the book centers around the idea that there is a coexistence of good and evil. This theme is really brought to life the more the reader is able to understand the book. Through sub themes such as coming of age, perspective, and intense characterization of many important characters the idea of good and evil is really brought to light.
Growing up is a maze with many twists and turns. In Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Jean Louise "Scout" Finch experiences many difficult situations as part of her coming of age. As Scout grows up in the rural Maycomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression, she faces problems with self-identity, racism, and her community. Harper Lee writes in a subtle yet impactful way about how Scout goes through this confusing stage, making her book a classic that every student should read. Recently To Kill a Mockingbird has been a controversial topic because a “school district in Mississippi announced that it was pulling the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic from its 8th-grade reading list” (Oprea 1). The school district worried that the book was uncomfortable for kids because of its use of explicit language. The school board stated that other books can convey the same lessons in more age-appropriate ways. The question is can these books convey the same lessons without using the language so vital in communicating the historical context of the novel. To Kill a Mockingbird is an important book that should not be banned in schools because it
To Kill a Mockingbird is a witty and well-written account of the realities of a “tired old town” (4) where there was “nothing to buy and nothing to buy it with” (4). Purposefully, it comes across not merely an innocently portrayed, yet eye-opening, story of a young girl start to grasp the inequalities of her society. Rather, it is accompanied by recollection of the unfortunate pillars of hate of the places Harper Lee matured in. We now perceive this account as an ‘archaic” and “ancient” recount of some historically frowned upon mindsets in an enthralling atmosphere upon which we pin historical quantities of prejudice, racism and most of all, bigotry. The unfortunate reality is that we look at history in a vacuum and ignore the occurrences of our own times. So although we, like Scout’s teachers teaching about the horrible acts of the Holocaust while being outspokenly racist, are able to analyze social inequalities in other places in time or the world yet refuse to open our eyes to the same prejudice, racism and bigotry today. To instance, when reading To Kill a Mockingbird , we often frown upon citizens for judging “folks” based on their family name and race, although, everyday, some member of our current society, such as police officers and employers, do the same thing and no one bats an eye. Alternatively, the issue which we definitely desperately desire to avoid, racism, is explicitly tackled in To Kill a Mockingbird to the point of viral awareness of the problem in
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is a complex literary work exploring several aspects of the human condition. Lee’s story is one based in the 1930’s, shortly before the Civil Rights Movement. Her novel ventures into the societal issues, such as racism and gender stereotyping, in their fictional town, Maycomb. One recurring theme throughout the narrative is the social adjustment of the citizens of Maycomb and the human race as a whole. Lee showcases the progress in social justice matters by using symbolism and motifs.
What if one of literature’s most celebrated novels wasn’t as good as one originally thought? Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird tells the story of Scout and Jem Finch, and their friend Dill Harris, three children living in a small town in the deep south during the Great Depression. One summer, Maycomb County is thrown into racial turmoil when Scout and Jem’s father, Atticus, is appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell, the white daughter of the town drunkard. Although the themes in To Kill a Mockingbird center around equality and justice, Lee sugarcoats many of the elements of racism and ultimately ends up championing the Caucasian race as opposed to delivering powerful messages about diversity.
In the riveting coming-of-age novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the author Harper Lee projects the idea of acceptance of all people, through the eyes of a child. Harper Lee combats the prejudice of social standing when she proves that some of the poorest people have the best of character traits. While racism of African Americans is first and foremost in this novel, the acceptance of white people into the African American community shows racism can be beaten from both point of views. Finally, the disabilities that Arthur Radley portrays, is forgotten, when his actions help him soar above the bigotry of the people of Maycomb County. The most obvious topic is the overt racism based on a person's skin color, however, Harper Lee takes us beneath the skin to show that discrimination occurs in other ways.
Williams 1* Jordan Williams Dr. Donald Florence English 511 23 February 2015 Atticus Finch and the White Savior Trope Harper Lee’s classic bildungsroman novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is a staple in many high school curricula. It is an excellent and informative read, but not for the reasons most White educators believe. This story was ultimately written by, for, and about White people.
But beyond this blatant level of bigotry is a silent killer, gone unrecognized either through ignorance or denial, and it’s just as dangerous as it’s more apparent counterpart. Subconscious biases are the hardest to address; worse, they are and have been the most prominent form of bias in America for decades. The biggest testaments to this are what we regard as classic literature, novels that struck home in their time and continue to do so today. One such example is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel set in the early 1930s (over a century after America was founded) and widely regarded as a snapshot of the Southern culture of the time; another A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, which was written in 1957 and considered an authentic portrayal of a black Chicago family of the time.
Throughout history, there has been an overarching theme that writers write about. Great authors write about what they know. They write about what they see. They write about what they hear. They write about personal experiences and incorporate details from their lives into their literature. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is a classical work that reflects the Civil Rights and Women’s Movement of the 1950’s-1960’s through her depiction of the relationship between blacks and whites and her portrayal of female characters.
There are everlasting messages that people throughout history have identified with, because they have been faced with the worlds continual problems. In well known literary works, these timeless problems and messages are addressed. To Kill a Mockingbird confronts the issue of racism. The overall message of the book is how every person, regardless of race religion or sex, deserves to be treated
While the influence of society on an individual has become one of the paramount areas of study among various local as well as universal scholars and philosophers, this idea does not fail to become a real motif in some of the greatest discussed literature known to humanity. Moreover, among these exceptional classics, stands a prominent example of to kill a mockingbird, an “unforgettable novel of childhood in a sleepy southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it” (Lee 282). This “[c]ompassionate, dramatic and deeply moving” classic of American Literature by Harper Lee not only portrays society as a whole, however, it also accomplishes the task through the use of countless dynamic characters, symbols and allegories (Lee 282). Among
“The greatest writers and the best readers know that literature is not always mere sugar candy;it can sometimes be a strong medicine:sour perhaps-at least to the untrained taste - but necessary for continued health” (1). A statement written by Professor Thomas Scarseth shows how without value in books, a reading life would never reach its intended purpose. By learning to apply knowledge that books provide through characters, we can improve ourselves as individuals. This particular book, Of Mice and Men, has values such as linguistics, sociological value, and historical value. Linguistics are shown through Steinbeck’s use of poetic devices such as imagery and repetition. Sociological value is given through the perspective of Crooks, who shows the struggle of achieving the great American Dream of having a place to call your own. Finally, historical value is provided through racism and how it affected Crooks, or any other black man at the time.
Excitement, drama, and mystery is all found in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In the novel there are many comments about life in the South during the 1930’s by the author Harper Lee. Mystery, excitement, and drama are just a few things that the reader will love in this novel. Equality, racism, and the roles of women are just a few things that are mainly focused on in this essay.
The novels ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck and ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ by Harper Lee display how different characters go through various hardships including racial discrimination, innocence, disabilities, loneliness, and inequality because of gender or social status. Both novels take place in 1930’s in America during the Great Depression, when American people suffered from financial difficulties. Either author Steinbeck and Lee creates characters that try to achieve their American Dreams and goals. However, with characters’ unachievable dream and unchangeable life, the authors try to bring out the reader’s sympathetic heart towards the character.