To Kill A Mockingbird

Topics: Atticus Finch, Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Pages: 5 (1622 words) Published: March 23, 2015

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines prejudice as “an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.” This type of prejudice was what Arthur “Boo” Radley had to endure every day of his lifetime in the town of Maycomb County, Alabama. “People determined to preserve every physical scrap of the past” (185). The residents of Maycomb are, for the most part, paper-cut copies of the typical Southerner. They are very traditional, keeping much of their former beliefs and activities as possible. However, there is a notable few that do not quite fit with the rest of the town, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch, Arthur “Boo” Radley and Charles “Dill” Baker Harris. In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee skillfully shows how Scout, Jem, and Dill were prejudice against Boo, when in fact; all these children are comparable to Boo even if they had not noticed so. Their personality differences from the rest of the town, the care of their fathers, and wanting to connect with someone are what makes Scout, Jem and Dill relatable to Boo, with their similarities mentioned respectively, also all of them share the innocence represented by the symbolism of a mockingbird. Since the beginning of time, society has had “non-written” rules about the way that its citizens are supposed to behave. Therefore, when individuals do not follow these customary norms, the community will look down upon them or try to change them. In Maycomb, these “strange” individuals are Scout and Boo. Scout’s personality is not very lady-like for a girl at the time; likewise, Boo is seen as unusual since he is reclusive. Southern women were by default supposed to be "ladies." Their definition of a "lady" is to be well mannered, well spoken and well dressed. Scout does not possess these qualities; she is actually very reckless and wears overalls instead of dresses. For this reason, Scout is seen as very peculiar, but instead of being accepted she begins being impelled by her Uncle Jack, Jem, and Aunt Alexandra to become a Southern lady. When Uncle Jack comes to visit the Finch residency, he is appalled by Scout’s foul language. He sternly says to her, “... I'll be here a week, and I don't want to hear any words like that while I'm here... You want to grow up to be a lady, don't you?"(90). This clearly shows the attitude the general public had towards the way a lady is supposed to speak. I agree completely with Uncle Jack scolding Scout over swearing since she is still a child, but why does the comment have to be directed towards being a lady instead of to being polite? Jem also joins in on scolding Scout for not being ladylike. As he is maturing, he sees the abundant difference between his sister, Scout, and the way he perceives other women. Jem yelled at her after a fight, “It's time you started bein' a girl and acting right!"(131). It is interesting to see how Jem is falling for the structural way of thinking as the rest of the town. Girls had to be playing “gentle” things, such as with dolls, or knitting fancy quilts. On the other hand, Scout is into playing with dirt and rolling around in wheels, which was not seen as “acting like a girl.” Aunt Alexandra also implied this when she said, “I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants”(92). Aunt Alexandra’s version of “being a girl” is “playing with small stoves, tea sets, and wearing the Add-A-Pearl necklace”(93). For Scout this is not fair, being a lady meant substituting the activities she grew up doing with what others expect her to do. Comparable to Scout is Boo Radley, the more obvious example, Boo was ostracized by society for simply being different. For a while, the Maycomb population has looked down upon Boo, with unfounded rumors about him. When Jem is asked to describe him, he says the following, "…his hands were bloodstained... There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes...
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