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An Analysis of the Significance of the Setting of To Kill a Mockingbird

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Introduction

An Analysis of the Significance of the Setting of To Kill a Mockingbird Set in Maycomb County, Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is set in a town where racism is prevalent. Harper Lee's novel raises key themes to instil into the reader many ethics to combat these racist attitudes and inculcate other moral values. These themes are enforced by the setting and it is through the setting that Harper Lee emphasises the principles laid down by the novel. The setting is also used metaphorically to describe the themes in To Kill a Mockingbird. So it is necessary to analyse the significance of the setting and realise how events are portrayed through the setting which in turn emphasise key themes of the novel. The street is an important part of the setting, where key themes are emphasised. In the street, Scout and brother Jem alongside friend Dil are able to have fun through their childhood games whilst not compromising their safety and playing in a safe environment. Though the people within the street do not compromise safety, the street is not protected from outside attack. In fact, this flaw is exposed and safety is compromised when a dog, from outside the street, is found to have rabies. ...read more.

Middle

In fact, there is only one exception to the zones of Maycomb - Dolphus Raymond, described as a "nigger lover". It is through the setting of the racial groups that the author is able to portray just how widespread racism is in Maycomb County. Dolphus Raymond, the exception to Maycomb's racial grouping, is a key figure for another of Harper Lee's themes within the novel. Dolphus Raymond is seen as the misfit of society and an alcoholic. Though, as the novel progresses, and the discovery is made as to what Dolphus is actually drinking, it raises the issue discussed in the novel of deceptive appearances. Harper Lee revisits the theme of deceptive appearances when Miss Stephanie Crawford, though a neighbour is an outsider to the street, is responsible for concocting stories about Boo (Arthur) Radley. These gossips are found to be untrue and Boo (Arthur) Radley proves his appearance is not what it is made out to be by winning over Scout and Jem through presents in a tree, comforting Scout with a blanket during a neighbourhood crisis and saving the pair's lives. Another example of a deceptive appearance is of Mrs. ...read more.

Conclusion

The setting of To Kill a Mockingbird is a key aspect of the novel used to enforce the themes of the novel. When outside attack brings to light what people's attitudes towards others are, the theme of racism is highlighted. This them is enforced when the court is seen to be central to the town and court is found to be racist, the town is depicted as endemically racist. The extent of the prejudiced views upheld by much of the white community is exposed when the racial groupings show the black community to be forced to live in "trash". When outsiders mistake people with wrong impressions, deceptive appearances are found to be common in Maycomb. The idea of learning is enforced by a change in setting, through the attack and when viewing events from Boo Radley's point of view. When a reader pictures the attitudes of racists in the 1930s (when the novel is set) they are able to understand how racist people can be and how wrong discrimination can be. So Harper Lee uses a number of different settings to convey various key themes central to To Kill a Mockingbird. ...read more.

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