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How effectively does Harper Lee use Scouts rite of passage to explore prejudice of the American South in the 1930's?

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Introduction

How effectively does Harper Lee use Scouts rite of passage to explore prejudice of the American South in the 1930's? In the book To Kill a Mockingbird the town in which the story is based is small 'tired old town' called Maycomb; where most people are poor and also where there is not a lot of money to spare. Everybody seems to know everybody's business and there is also a lot of idle tongues and small town gossip. But most of all there is racism and prejudice. This is shown mainly by Tom Robinson a black man being accused of raping a white girl; Mayella Ewell. Most of the people in Maycomb believed he was guilty while others thought him to be innocent; especially his defendant Atticus Finch. This book was set in the times of the Jim Crow laws and these would consist of set rules for white and black people. The story is told through the eyes of a young girl called Scout; she is six years old at the beginning of the novel; she has an older brother called Jem who is 'four years her senior' who she gets along with extremely well as she is a tomboy herself. ...read more.

Middle

This also showed signs of prejudice by showing what the children thought of Boo Radley but didn't actually know. Scout even began to have feelings for Dill and Dill changed the life and views of Scout and Jem for the better. Lee uses Boo as a significant role at the opening of the book and he is used as the first meeting point of prejudice. All the way through the book the reader gets to understand more about Boo; by using Scouts learning and understanding about prejudice herself. Dill is also a very important character in the novel as he is also a main part in Scout's life and he leads Scout to her every lesson of empathy and in some ways teaches her about prejudice. Dill's presence in Maycomb makes the children more curious about Boo as she is a very daring and questionable young boy. The following event in Scout's life was her first day of school. Scout did not like her first day of school, she loathed her teacher, Ms Caroline, and she also got into a brawl with Walter Cunningham. ...read more.

Conclusion

Harper Lee shows us that racism can be caused in many different ways; it can affect white people just as it does blacks. Some people are brought up in a racist background and carry on the racism as that's what they believe is right. But some people like Atticus, even though he may have been brought up in a racist background; makes the decision to bring their children up differently, to learn the difference between right and wrong, to accept people for who they are and like Atticus taught Scout when he told her clearly he 'didn't want her fighting anymore no matter what it was people said to her' just because people discriminate you it doesn't mean you have to sink to their level. Scout beyond doubt understands prejudice at the end of the book when Boo Radley saves Jem's life. After thinking all them bad things about Boo and thinking he was a bad, evil person she actually realizes that he was not at all and that actually all this time he has only been afraid himself, and because of all the rumours going around anyway he was afraid of what people would think of him if he did "come out". ?? ?? ?? ?? Sarah Crafford To Kill a Mockingbird Year 10 Coursework ...read more.

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