To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Decent Essays

Throughout the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, author Harper Lee challenges the societal norms of gender roles, within the character “Jean Louise,” also referred to as her tomboy name “Scout.” Scout battles the society-defined roles in many ways throughout the text. Many factors lead to Scout redefining femininity, including Jem and Dill’s coming-of-age dilemma. An exploration of gender roles and inequality throughout the text and this time period will allow one to understand how Scout was able to overcome gender stereotyping. Scout had been raised in a masculine environment, with her father Atticus and her brother Jem, after her mother passed away. During the first chapters of the book, many negative comments were made about acting or being a girl from Jem. Jem would say comments such as, “ ’Scout I’m tellin’ you for the last time, shut your trap or go home-I declare to the Lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl everyday!’ “. Comments like this were made throughout the beginning of the book, making it seem that acting feminine was inferior to masculinity. This environment contradicted what many believed a little girl should dress and act like. The first evidence of the gender role battle became prominent when Atticus, Jem and Scout visited Finch Landing, where their Aunt Alexandra lived. Referring to Scouts attire, Aunt Alexandra said that she must wear a dress and behave like a lady to “be a ray of sunshine in [her] father’s lonely life”. Comments about

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