To Kill a Mockingbird

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Alyse Hall
December 11, 2007
English 11
N. Costa
Why Not To Kill a Mockingbird
Life in the Southern states during the 1930’s was full of racism and bigotry. Whites were seen as being superior over African-Americans and African-Americans were treated as less than equals. Since the 1930’s, society has made numerous strides to improve the racial inequality of the past and to bridge the gap between the two races. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird revisits the South in the 1930’s. The language used helps to make the novel more realistic. To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel that should be read by all high school students. It explores the idea of racism and shows how it affects people of all ages, races, and social classes.

The novel To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of Jean Louise (Scout) Finch and the events that she, her brother Jem, and her friend Dill encounter in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930’s. For the first time in her life, Scout witnesses racial inequality. Her father, Atticus Finch, is an attorney assigned to Tom Robinson’s, a black man, case. Tom is accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell, and after being tried is convicted, although the evidence points in another direction.

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird paints a realistic picture of a small town in the South in the 1930’s. The language used throughout the novel is subject of that used during that time. The “N” word is used only in context. It is not used to demean or belittle the African-American race, but merely to make the novel and its characters more realistic. In this time the “N” word was commonly used when referring to any African-American, male or female, young or old. And although the word is offensive, even to this day, one must realize that it’s used more commonly in today’s music, television broadcasts, and conversations than it is in Harper Lee’s novel. African-Americans refer to each other as “niggas” and “Negroes” everyday in conversations....
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