To Kill a Mockingbird Analysis

Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, Discrimination Pages: 3 (933 words) Published: November 24, 2007
The intriguing novel, To Kill A Mockingbird is written by the prestigious author Harper Lee. Lee has utilised the lifestyle and attitudes towards ‘African-Americans" in the 1930's to create a novel which presents the reader with Lee's attitudes and values. The dominant reading of the novel is focused on the issues of racial prejudice, but there are also a number of other alternative and oppositional readings. Examples of this are the Marxist and feminist readings which can be applied to the text.

Lee has invited the reader to interpret the dominant reading of racial prejudice. It is obvious to the reader that racial prejudice is incorrect and the treatment of ‘African-Americans' is cruel and unjust. Racial prejudice is also a major theme in the novel and it is accentuated by the events occurring throughout the novel. The majority of the townsfolk of Maycomb have prejudice against ‘African-Americans' due to their physical differences, but there are a few exceptions, for example, Atticus. The ‘African-Americans' residing in Maycomb are considered inferior to the ‘white population'. This is shown in the outcome of Tom Robinson's trial. The jury was unable to find an ‘African-American' not guilty over a white family even though there was overwhelming evidence of his innocence. An example of the evidence provided by Atticus is the right side of Mayella Ewell's face was beaten showing that a left-handed person probably caused the damage, but Tom's left hand was rendered useless after an accident.

If a Marxist reading is applied to this text it is easily recognised that individuals such as Atticus are influential in society and they are located higher up the social ladder. Atticus is a respected lawyer in the town of Maycomb and compared to other characters in the novel he is in a higher position on the social ladder. For example the Ewell's and the Cunningham are on the bottom of the social ladder and are considered as ‘white trash'. As the story progresses the...
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