"To kill a mockingbird."

Essay by kathrina12 October 2005

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The story of Jean Louise 'Scout' Finch, growing up with her father, Atticus and brother, Jem in the US Southern state of Alabama, in the 1930s, is the story told by Harper Lee in "To Kill a Mockingbird." Throughout the novel, Scout faces many trials and tribulations through which she learnt many lessons. One lesson Scout learned was to tolerate others, regardless of their race or how they live their lives. Scout also learned that courage isn't only a man with a gun. Both lessons were learnt in a manner that is unique to "To Kill a Mockingbird".

Like many other communities, Maycomb was home to many different kinds of people. According to Jem, "There are four kinds of folks in the world. There are ordinary kind like us and the neighbours, there's the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells out in the dump, and the Negroes...The

thing about it is, our kind of folks don't like the Cunninghams, the Cunninghams don't like the Ewells, and the Ewells hate and despise the coloured folks." (Page 249) By saying this, Jem has shown the competing class discourse that is evident throughout the whole novel. This competing discourse is between the 'ordinary' whites and the Negroes. The whites are upper, middle and in terms of the Ewells and Cunninghams, lower class. The Negroes are even lower than the lower class because most white people believe they are superior to the Negroes. Both, as demonstrated by Jem are intolerant of each other. This attitude has been brought on by almost a century of Negro slavery, which ended during the Civil War; the whites still see Negroes as slaves and underclass, while Negroes see the white people as their oppressors. The treatment of Negroes as...