Use of Minor Characters in To Kill a Mockingbird

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Minor characters are often more important than they initially seem, and can be just as engaging and complicated as major characters. Furthermore, protagonists are isolated without the people that surround and influence them subliminally. This applies to the intriguing minor characters one has the privilege of discovering in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Specifically, Lee uses minor characters to effectively disprove stereotypes and establishing setting. Not only do they influence the direction of the plot, but also Scout and her development as a character. Lee carefully selects minor characters to send important messages and reinforce themes by using characters as symbols. Fundamentally, the minor characters in “To Kill a …show more content…
Another stereotype in Maycomb that African Americans, specifically, might be placed under is that they are uneducated and inferior to the white community. Calpurnia disproves this easily. In fact, when Scout is describing her and the arguments they had, she states that “Calpurnia always won, mainly because Atticus always took her side” (Lee 6). This clearly shows that Calpurnia has Atticus’ approval, something she could only gain by showing intelligence and capability. It proves that she is not only correct and just in her ways, but that she is respected and has some authority in the Finch household. This is neither common nor stereotypical in Maycomb, and neither is Boo Radley. Though he is at the center of the most notorious story in all of Maycomb, and is rumored to be a haunted psychopath, he is not the typical recluse. His true nature is revealed in “Summer, and he watched his children’s heart break. Autumn again, and Boo’s children needed him” (Lee 279). Clearly, Boo is much more benevolent than anyone could perceive, as he chooses to be kind despite his hardship. He disproves the stereotype that would lead Maycomb citizens to see him as spiteful or self-pitying, by coming to the aid of Jem and Scout. He goes so far as to call Scout and Jem “his children”, proving his love and sense of responsibility towards them. Moreover, his empathy proves that the existence of racism is not the only thing Maycomb County does not fully comprehend. In
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