An essay analysing the theme of outsider in 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Harper Lee and 'Silas Marner' by George Elliot

Essay by rishimak March 2003

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Discuss the theme of outsider in 'Silas Marner' and 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

The theme of 'outsider' runs throughout both 'Silas Marner', written by Harper Lee, and 'To Kill A Mockingbird', written by George Eliot. Many other similarities exist between the two novels as well. Both novels are written by women in a time were oppression, segregation and prejudice were around in some force. Both novels involve a character that is an outsider by towards the end becomes accepted into the remote community they found themselves in. Both outsiders in the two novels are also male. Both novels are also set 30 years prior to writing giving the author hindsight and retrospective. However, differences also exist between the two novels. 'Silas Marner' is set in England during the years just before and during the industrial revolution whereas 'To Kill A Mockingbird' is set in South USA during the 1930s.

Other differences involve the focus of the two novels. 'To Kill A Mockingbird' does not centrally lie on the theme of Boo Radley as the outsider or on the life of Boo Radley but more on racism and prejudice and uses Boo Radley as an example of a product of the bad things in Maycomb, Alabama. However, 'Silas Marner' does lie centrally on the theme of Silas Marner as an outsider, how he became an outsider and how he coped and became excepted. It is these differences and similarities that help portray a theme of outsider in the novel's context and is what makes both novels interesting while still being unique.

'To Kill A Mockingbird' is set in the 1930s in Alabama in a fictional county named Maycomb. This, historically, places the novel in the midst of social prejudice against the blacks...