How To Kill A Mockingbird A Coming Of Age Novel

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Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning book To Kill a Mockingbird was written in 1960. Lee grew up a tomboy in a small Alabama town just like the main character in the book. Lee’s “father was a lawyer and a member of the Alabama state legislature” which is also like the main character’s father (“Harper Lee Biography”). To Kill a Mockingbird is not only a coming of age novel, but also deals with racial and classist prejudices throughout the book. The setting of the book is in Alabama in the 1930’s which was a very different time in America than today. It was a time of the Great Depression and the south was overrun with racism and segregation. Harper Lee explores the theme of prejudice and racism throughout her novel To Kill a Mockingbird which…show more content…
Most importantly the novel addresses racism and prejudice which was rampant throughout the south during the 1930’s which is when the novel was set. One example of prejudice in the novel occurred when Scout was speaking to her neighbor, Miss Maudie, regarding “Boo” Radley, the town recluse, who had not been seen in years. Scout, Jem and their friend Dill, believed Boo was insane and dangerous. People in the town blame anything weird or unusual that happens on Boo Radley. Miss Maudie told Scout, “That is a sad house. I remember Arthur (Boo) Radley when he was a boy. He always spoke nicely to me, no matter what folks said he did” (Lee 61). Miss Maudie was trying to tell Scout that Boo was harmless and that people in the town made judgements about him because they never saw him come out of the house. The novel also has many examples of racism. One of the examples of racism is the treatment of the character Tom Robinson. He is not only black, but he also has a crippled arm. Tom conquers these minority difficulties by going to work each day, attending church, and helping neighbors like a good citizen. However, when a white man accuses Tom of raping his daughter, Tom is treated horribly. Tom is completely innocent, but he is arrested and charged with rape. As a result of Tom’s arrest, his wife Helen cannot get a job to feed her three children. She is discriminated against because of the nature of the crime Tom is charged with. Yet another example of racism and prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird is when Scout is talking about her teacher, Miss Gates. Miss Gates stated in class how she hates Hitler and how bad he treated the Jews. However, when Miss Gates was leaving the trial at the courthouse Scout overheard her say, “it’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us” (Lee 331).
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