, Research Paper
Literary Analysis of
To Kill a Mockingbird
In the book, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Scout was exposed numerous
times to the outwardly prejudice people of Maycomb Co., Alabama.
These prejudices are separated into what I would consider three catagories: race,
sex, and lifestyle discriminations. The most prominent being the racial descrimination,
which as Harper Lee pointed out, was not just limited to the cacausion population of
Maycomb. One of these instinces was when Lula commented on Finch children coming to
a historically all black church. Another less prominent form of this reverse discrimination
would be the fact that the african people of Maycomb tended to assume that all white
people in Maycomb had a deep hatered for blacks, and so they also treated all of them as
prejudiced people. But, the black population, by far was disriminated against the most. For
instince the many times Scout was told her father defened niggers, and was a nigger lover.
One of these times would be when Francais states, ?I guess it ain?t your fault if Uncle
Atticus is nigger lover?(83). And although Scout didn?t truly know the meanings of these
statements seemingly rooted into the core of many Maycomb populants, she did sense that
they were not statements of reverement.
Another type of prejudice in the book would be the sexism and resulting
stereotypical views of how women and men should act, dress, and what they can and
cannot do. A good example of this being the many times Mrs. Dubose made statements
like, ?What are you doing in overalls. If you don?t start acting proper you will end up
serving tables?(101). What I would consider to be vast majority of this sexism was aimed
at women and girls. They were constantly told what was proper and lady-like and what
they should dress like to look like a lady. These so called ideals were not only reinforced
and tought by men but also by women. Scout was one of the minority of people who
didn?t conform to these ideals and was therefore ridiculed by the less enlighted people of
The third and final form of prejudice is actually a combination of the other two
types of prejudice. This prejudice being discrimination againtst non-conforming lifestyles.
A good example of this would be Mr. Dolpus who hung around with black people and
was considered a drunk by the townspeople. He was apparently called trash by the
townspeople as this this quote from Dill suggests, ?He doesn?t look like trash?(160). I
consider the main cause of this lifestyle discrimination to be the many other separate
prejudices rolled into one and applyed to how people should live and act. Such as the fact
that whites weren?t supposed to mingle with the black people and people aren?t supposed
to drink to much, or at least not while under the public eye. Scout was also subject to this
type of prejudice because of the fact that her father was defending, and therefore mingling,
with a black person.
I believe that without such contraversial issues the story would have not truely
achieved the level of realisticity and validity that Harper Lee was able reach. And also
without them we would have been unable to see who was truly a good at heart character
and who was a low life.