• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

“Silas Marner” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Extracts from this document...


"Silas Marner" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" WIDER READING ESSAY In response to the claim that all outsiders in fiction are oppressed victims rather than strong non-conformists I have compared two novels, featuring one or more outsider, 'Silas Marner' by George Eliot and 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' by Harper Lee. The claim has some measure of truth in that, at the beginning of the novel, Silas Marner is very much an oppressed victim in the town of Raveloe, another example that backs up the claim is Boo Radley from 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' he is introduced as a rejected and isolated outsider and by the end he is still not comfortable in the company of the rest of the town. However, the claim is disproved because a very strong individual and is no longer oppressed. More evidence that invalidates the claim is the Finch family; they are obviously outsiders but clearly are not weak and oppressed. Before even getting to know him well, the people of Raveloe reject Silas Marner as being strange and different. This immediate exclusion due to his reputation makes it impossible for Marner to become an active member of the Society. "(The Raveloe woman) would never marry a dead man come to life again". This quote shows that the women of Raveloe could not possibly accept Marner because they have heard of these strange, deathlike trances he is prone to. ...read more.


"As her life unfolded, his soul, long stupefied into a cold narrow prison, was unfolding too, and trembling gradually into full consciousness." The author is using a metaphor here, she describes Silas' past life as being trapped in his depression and hate for the villagers, he was in a 'cold narrow prison' but now that Eppie has arrived he is able to escape his dark emotion and embrace his new optimistic life of happiness and joy. Silas is no longer weak and unsure of himself but is now very much a strong non-conformist, this goes to refute the original claim that, as an outsider, Silas must be weak and oppressed. The most conclusive piece of evidence that goes to disprove the claim is the Finch family from Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mocking Bird". This includes Jem and Scout, but most importantly, Atticus. He is a lawyer living in Maycomb and is given the job of defending a black man, Tom Robinson, in court. The county expect Atticus to simply go through the motions as it can not possibly be that. Tom Robinson is innocent, because he is black. "The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence to the effect that the Crime Tom Robinson is charged with ever took place". This shows that Atticus has much higher moral standards then the rest of Maycomb, Atticus is not just going to stand by and watch Tom Robinson get convicted of a crime he did not commit simply because he is black, Atticus is going to defend him with all his available strength. ...read more.


It is not the entire Radley family who are seen as freaks but more specifically Boo is targeted for abuse. He is seen as some vile, uncontrolled animal that attacks his parents and eats raw meat for food. There cannot be anyone more oppressed than Boo Radley. "An expression of timid curiosity was on his face, as though he had never seen a boy's face before...every move he made was uncertain." Here Boo has saved Jem and Scout's lives and suddenly everyone is paying attention to him, but still he is not comfortable in the presence of the rest of the town. Boo has been isolated his whole life and has no experience when it comes to people, it is now too late for Boo to learn the skills required and change himself sufficiently to become a member of society. He is and will always be an isolated figure of fun for the rest of Maycomb. The claim that "all outsiders are oppressed victims rather than strong non-conformists" is false because in the majority of cases the outsiders are in fact strong and self-confident. This is backed up by the two characters I have studied: Silas Marner and Atticus Finch. Although Silas Marner starts off weak he does change to become stronger. However the claim does have some measure of truth in that Boo Radley is an oppressed figure of fun for Maycomb throughout the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird". ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Harper Lee section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Harper Lee essays

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    This idea is fleshed out in more detail in Chapter 24, in which women from Maycomb's Missionary Society display equal doses of religious "morality" and outright racist bigotry. Boo is to the children only what they have heard from popular legend, and interpreted in their own imaginations.

  2. Is To Kill A Mockingbird an Optimistic or Pessimistic Novel?

    and seek revenge on white people who, for all of their lives have treated the blacks terribly. The gifts being given shows that there is still hope and that they still believe that things could possibly change. Virtues can also appear optimistic or pessimistic.

  1. Atticus Finch & Silas Marner - Good Parents?

    Atticus Finch uses examples to teach Scout and Jem, he lets the maid who is black to eat with them, something that is frowned upon in there town, also he treats everyone with curtercy if they are black or white.

  2. Prejudice in To Kill a Mocking Bird

    Fear and paranoid led to the Whites believing that the Blacks desired all the whites had, including their women. Aunt Alexandra�s attitude to Calpurnia The Missionary tea ladies� comments about the Blacks Segregation of White and Black in Maycomb Dolphus Raymond - White man living with Black woman Class &

  1. To Kill A Mocking Bird : Harper Lee - A chapter analysis.

    basement...by his new father, who disliked him, and secretly kept alive on raw field peas by a passing farmer who heard his cries, Dill worked himself free by pulling the chains from the wall. Sill in wrist manacles, he wandered two miles out of Meridian where he discovered a small animal show and immediately engaged to wash a camel..."

  2. Whether the novel "To Kill A Mockingbird" is depressing or optimistic

    Now, I shall be looking at the theme- symbolism. The characters Atticus and Tom Robinson are refered as being "Mockingbirds." A Mockingbird is supposed to be innocent and "sings his heart out" for us. The mockingbird motif arises three times during "To Kill a Mockingbird".

  1. Write about the different kinds of prejudice in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and the ...

    White community were superior to those intended for use by the Negroes. For instance, the white community had a church with the sole-purpose of worshipping, whereas the Negroes' church, "First Purchase" was used by the White Community for gambling during the week.

  2. Prejudice In Harper Lee’s Novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

    It also illustrates how the lynch mob feel powerful in a group, because they are able to hide behind others. Scout doesn't understand their intentions and sees a face in the crowd and names him. 'Hey, Mr Cunningham� she says singling him out from the group.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work