How Does Chapter One Prepare Us for the Main Theme of Prejudice in 'to Kill a Mockingbird'

Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, White people Pages: 3 (1066 words) Published: April 1, 2011
How does Chapter one prepare us for the main theme of prejudice?

Harper Lee, who was born in 1926 in the southern state of Alabama, is said that as a white women writing in the 1950’s, she was perhaps expressing her views on sexism, racism and prejudice throughout the novel, as it touches on some of these issues. She symbolises important ideas using a variety of language techniques and symbolic characters such as Scout. The characterisation of Maycomb County, inhabitant families and themes show different forms of prejudice, ways in which chapter one prepares for prejudice later on in the novel.

The description of Maycomb County is both characterized and personified by using a variety of different language techniques, for example, ‘flicked flies in the sweltering shade’ (alliteration) and ‘sagged in the square’ evoke images of a hot, tired town, and too old to adjust to new ideas. It seems to be a small town, ‘across the square’ suggests that there isn’t ever far to go to get somewhere in Maycomb. Therefore, using literal meaning in contrast to metaphorical meaning, Harper Lee has prepared us for prejudice through her use of language in describing Maycomb.

It seems to be dubbed as one unit quite frequently - ‘Maycomb County had recently been told that it has nothing to fear but fear itself.’ This unit seems to be exclusively structured into sections of men, women, children and black people, for example ‘ladies bathed before noon’ and ‘men’s stiff collars wilted.’ It doesn’t appear to be any room for individuality because of the generalisation Harper Lee has used. Therefore, a reader would perhaps prepare for a theme of prejudice because of the oppressive imagery created by the language used ‘the courthouse sagged in the square’ and generalisation ‘Maycomb County’ - one unit, one being, no room for change. Prejudice is also indicated by the stereotyping and categorizing families in Maycomb.

When families are referred to in the novel there is, again,...
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