Knowing Your Place in To Kill a Mockingbird

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Unspoken barriers divide people according to class, wealth, intelligence and background. This affected numerous people throughout history who were subsequently appointed inequitable places in society according to factors such as family ancestry, behaviour and more. In To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee argues that negative repercussions will arise when one attempts to step out of their preordained place in a small judgmental society. This is evidently proven through the characters of Mayella Ewell, the children Jem and Scout, and finally, Atticus Finch. In the town of Maycomb, hereditary relations play a large part in one’s reputation, meaning that the social status of your family instantly becomes your own. The character of Mayella Ewell…show more content…
Scout Finch is a well-known character throughout the book not only because it was written in her perspective, but for having an intelligent yet tomboy demeanor. This does not always fall in her favor as she was reprimanded several times for committing certain actions deemed to be unladylike. “‘Don’t you contradict me!’ Mrs. Dubose bawled. ‘And you—’ she pointed an arthritic finger at me—‘what are you doing in those overalls? You should be in a dress and camisole, young lady!’” (101) Various people including Mrs. Dubose and Aunt Alexandra scolded Scout several times throughout the book for dressing the way she did, in overalls like the males instead of the common dresses, petticoats and sashes girls had adorned then. Even some places were considered unworthy for people of certain races to be at. When the children went to Calpurnia’s church, they were stopped by Lula who said, “‘You ain’t got no business bringin‘ white chillun here—they got their church, we got our’n. It is our church, ain’t it, Miss Cal?’… Jem said, ‘Let’s go home, Cal, they don’t want us here—’” (119). The kids stepped out of their place going to a Black church when they were of White heritage and subsequently angered certain people like Lula. This would have been completely unheard of by the rest of society. Both the children Jem and Scout fall victim to the rules inflicted
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