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How far does the theme of prejudice dominate the novels "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen and "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee.

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Introduction

Pride and Prejudice and To Kill A Mockingbird. How far does the theme of prejudice dominate the novels "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen and "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. You should consider which characters show prejudice, how their conduct and attitudes cause misunderstanding and whether these attributes change during the novel. You should also consider how the author guides the reader's response in the theme of prejudice: the setting of the novel and the language, tone and technique used to guide the readers response In the novels "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen and "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee it is evident that both novels are dominated by prejudice. In both novels there are various themes but both novels mainly centre on prejudice. In "Pride and Prejudice" the prejudices is not that serious. It is mainly about first impressions (the original title of the Book) yet in "To Kill a Mockingbird" the prejudice is more serious and is shown in a more sinister way, the theme of prejudice reaches a climax and end in shocking and drastic results. "Pride and Prejudice" was written in 1813. The period of the setting of the novel is 1811-1812. The novel is set in England in various places like London, Kent, Derbyshire and Hertfordshire (home of the Bennet family). Women in regency Britain had far less option than the women of today. Most women did not receive a formal education, women were taught to be useful but not independent, their aim was to become 'accomplished' which meant being proficient In the social graces such as singing, music, drawing, needlework and literature, although the latter did not have the same emphasis. There was constant pressure on women of those times to marry well, to obtain financial security, not just for their selves but also for their immediate family. The position of unmarried women is clearly defined in "Pride and Prejudice" there is no instance where a single woman travelled alone, or was without a chaperone apart from when Elizabeth went to nurse Jane. ...read more.

Middle

Lee however, proceeds to undermine her portrayal of small town gentility during the second half of the Book. She dismantles the facade to reveal a rotten, rural underside filled with social lies, prejudice and ignorance. To Kill a Mockingbird has numerous accounts of prejudice. The novel is set in a period when discrimination and racism was very prevalent. They were very common acts in the early and middle 1990's. In 1930 a system of segregation was in force. Black and whites were forbidden by law to mix. Any black person (and for that mater white) who challenged the system of segregation publicly would be killed by prosegretation fanatics. Even Atticus Finch, the character who represents idealism and devotion, never attacked the system. Although most of the discrimination was directed towards blacks, there was plenty of prejudice towards impoverished family by those who had money. However the black people decided to take action and in 1960's action became stronger and blacks demanded more rights. Cleverly Harper Lee supports the civil rights movement by stepping back in time and quoting the 1930's and thereby removing her novel from the emotional climate of 1960's and distancing it but drawing lessons from it nevertheless. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is about the narrator's growth of awareness; it belongs to a style of writing called 'bildungsroman'. The narrator is taken from a period of innocence to a state of maturity. Harper Lee has a clear straightforward way writing of writing, Her style and legal language permeates the novel, however she also has the ability to conjure up atmosphere and create mystery and suspense in dramatic episodes. Lee uses a lot of simile 'Calpurnias hand was as hard as a bed slat and twice as hard'. She also uses metaphor which is shown beautifully through the Mockingbird and she also uses a lot of humour and irony. Harper Lee's ability to capture a variety of dialect, southern colloquial and expression add realism and authentity e.g. ...read more.

Conclusion

Already highly prejudiced Bob Ewell does things for strange reasons. He spat in Atticus' face because he did a good job of defending Tom Robinson. Bob wanted Atticus to retaliate so he can lower Atticus'name, of course, Atticus does not fight back, which only succeeds in making Bob angrier. Bob Ewells nastiness doesn't just end with Atticus or the black community, he also tries to break in to judge Taylor's house, but the worst thing he does is when he tries to attack Jem and Scout. This was a particularly horrible attack because the kids had never done anything to him and he knew the kids couldn't retaliate with a grown man. Fortunately, Bob is another character who dies in the Book, therefore aiding the cause of Maycomb County becoming a better place. Apart from the victims, most of the characters were prejudiced in the novel, yet their prejudice did not do anybody major harm in the novel, however the prejudice that Bob Ewell held caused very serious problems. To start of with it was he who not only physically but also emotionally bullied Mayella to falsely accuse Tom Robinson of raping her. Mayella Ewell cried rape because not only her father had forced her to, but also because she received regular beatings from Bob which psychologically left an impact on her and made her feel someone had to pay and that person was Tom Robinson. So Bob Ewells prejudice was to such an extent that he caused an innocent man to die, therefore along with most of Maycomb County he has Tom Robinson's blood on his hand. Both books contain a considerable amount of prejudice, however the prejudice in "Pride and Prejudice" is quite irrelevant while in "To Kill a Mockingbird" it is quite substantial. Jane Austen has shown prejudice in a satirical manner while in to Harper Lee has shown its evil form. "Pride and "Prejudice" is about trivial themes like marriage, love and family life while in "To Kill a mockingbird" it is about evil, racial prejudice and discrimination which eventually grasps the life of a innocent man. ...read more.

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