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Harper Lee's treatment of the theme of prejudice through her presentation of female characters in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

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Introduction

Harper Lee?s treatment of the theme of prejudice through her presentation of female characters in ?To Kill a Mockingbird? Although the main theme of To Kill a Mocking Bird is racial prejudice, there is a very strong feeling that even in the ?white world? women are second class to men. Also there is the sense that with Calpurnia she has to be even more careful about what she says and does, being African-American and a woman showing that the tie between racial prejudice and the prejudice against women is strong. The theme of prejudice starts right at the being of the novel with Calpurnia?s comment about Mr Radley ?the meanest man ever God blew breath into.? This surprises the children at Calpurnia?s saying something, because it is significant that she should have commented on a white man. This is because in society African-Americans had a low status; it would have been out of place that she commented on the ways of a white man. ...read more.

Middle

Unlike Miss Stephanie and Mrs Dubose, she is friendly and tolerant. She is a very important role model for Scout as she is a sort of mother figure in Scout?s and possibly Jem?s life. She is accepted differently in Macomb society as she is not commented on for wearing overalls to garden in, even though Scout is constantly being reminded by Aunt Alexandra that she can?t possibly be a lady wearing overalls. This leaves the question is there in fact only a small amount of prejudice against women in society, but prejudice within classes, that because Scout is from a privileged back ground she is meant to be a ?Lady?. On the other hand this could be because although she gardens on overalls she does dress up as a lady in ?magisterial beauty? for occasions when she is needed to. Miss Maudie clearly shows her disapproval for ?foot-washing Baptists? who ?think women are a sin by definition?. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think that the prejudice in this is that the women don?t really understand what they are talking about and are comment on things which they shouldn?t. Mrs Merriweather acts all high and mighty about the good which Christianity is doing, when in fact by being racist and prejudice she is going directly against something she believes in. Aunt Alexandra is a complex character who is almost obsessed with Scout becoming a ?Lady?, but as we get further into the book especially at the Missionary Tea she shows that she doesn?t hold the same prejudices as many of the other ladies of her class and understands many of the issues which the other ladies don?t. In To Kill a Mocking Bird there are many cases of prejudice against women, they come from many of the people in the book all from different classes and backgrounds. I think that it is obvious that Harper Lee dislikes all forms of prejudice but she does leave you to choose your views for yourself. ...read more.

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