Theme Of Conformity In To Kill A Mockingbird

Decent Essays
Page 127 of “To Kill a Mockingbird” is at a superficial level a passage about the main character’s father killing a dog that has rabies. However, by looking beneath the surface, we see Harper Lee conveying a sense of non-conformity against one specific social norm. Lee’s theme of non-conformity in the society is portrayed by Atticus putting his beliefs aside and shooting the dog, or in this case, racism. When the dog, Tim Johnson, is within shooting range, Heck the sheriff tries to give the gun to Atticus, but Atticus tries emphatically to get the sheriff to kill the dog by saying “I haven’t shot a gun in thirty years-”. Nobody else would shoot the racism in Maycomb. Even the sheriff didn’t have the courage or want to be any different than…show more content…
“I’d feel mighty comfortable if you did it now” In this backgrounding clause the sheriff, Mr.Tate, “[feels] mighty comfortable” when someone else does the work. This means that the sheriff could shoot the dog, but is just too afraid to go against the society norm. It also connotes a sense of laziness and lack of skills.The sheriff can also be a symbol of Maycomb as a whole. Maycomb is inactive, slow, tired, lazy and very close-minded. It is very ironic how Atticus is described as the deadest shot in Maycomb county, but he never shoots anymore. This is also a symbol of non-conformity. Atticus doesn’t want his children growing up with an idea that a man with a gun is brave and honest, but studying at school and courageousness is the key. This page is also a major turning point in the story because Jem finally gets out of his close-minded brain and looks at the world another way. It is also a turning point for Atticus. He realises that sometimes you have to sacrifice your beliefs for the good of others. He comprehends this when…show more content…
The dog is only a small statement of what racism is and was in the area. By looking in only part 1, one can see Atticus’s side of the Finch family nonconforming in a number of ways. Not only against the rest of the Finch family but also at the school, the teaching and activities that they do everyday. When Scout goes to the Finch Landing, Aunt Alexandra first excludes Scout by making her sit alone at the “small table”. The others “already graduated to the big table”. This shows that the Finches have to pass a ‘test’, or conform to the society norm. Scout goes against the society norm when she doesn’t “dress like a lady” in dresses and isn’t “the ray of sunshine” in her father’s life. Atticus teaches his children that they are equal and everyone has the right to have their own opinions and do what they think is right to a certain extent. On many occasions Atticus suspends judgement and respects others’ opinions and hears out what they want to say, and then makes his own judgement from that. At school Scout is a symbol of non-conformity because she already knows how to read. Most of the other children have been helping their parents do their jobs instead of learning materials for school. The first grade teacher, Miss Caroline makes Scout read and then, discovering that she can, “[looks] at me with faint disgust”(22). She finds out
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