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In 'The Withered Arm' and 'To Kill a Mockingbird' outsiders are portrayed using a variety of background and social information, combined with effective language, narrative techniques and descriptions.

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Introduction

EXAMINE THE PORTRAYAL OF OUTSIDERS IN 'THE WITHERED ARM' AND 'TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD' In 'The Withered Arm' and 'To Kill a Mockingbird' outsiders are portrayed using a variety of background and social information, combined with effective language, narrative techniques and descriptions. An 'outsider' is defined as 'a non-member of a certain group', either for a physical, beliefs or social reason, and is removed or divided from the rest of society. In 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'The Withered Arm' there are a number of outsiders that we can deduce from the way in which the authors portray such characters. The author of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' was born in Alabama, the state in which the imaginary Maycomb was set. She based much of her novel on the ways and society that she had experienced in Monroeville. She recognised the prejudices at that time and so wrote a story with a still relevant philosophy; which was that everyone, including outsiders should have the courage to face up to difficult problems and people. They should not necessarily fell that they have to conform to the written or unwritten laws of society. Thomas Hardy, the author of 'The Withered Arm,' in contrast was much more of an outsider himself. He wrote around the time of the Industrial Revolution, inspired by Higher Bockhampten, the small hamlet in which he grew up and was educated. ...read more.

Middle

When referring to outsiders prejudiced because of their beliefs, both Atticus in 'To Kill a Mockingbird', and Rhoda in 'The Withered Arm' are examples. Atticus is described by Harper Lee though Scouts eyes, as 'feeble...old' and boring. This description therefore may be seen to imply that the author is creating an outsider with that boring, monotonous personality, but in fact, he is an outsider for exactly the opposite reasons. Harper Lee wrote the novel through a child's point of view. This helps us to understand the outsiders as we see them though the comparatively innocent unbiased manner that six-year old Scout has. Our learning curve is also parallel to hers. This helps us to form our own opinions, and build up a more accurate portrayal of the outsiders than a biased adult's account of the events would have. The way in which Scout describes Atticus does not reflect the image of him that is built up throughout the book. She complains that he will not play football like other fathers, which turns out to be quite an ironic comment. The idea of priorities and skills is developed throughout the novel and we see when Atticus shoots the mad dog that he does have skills, but is careful as to when they need to be used. A positive mood for Atticus' character is created by comments the author has included, such as the realisation of Jem's that his father is 'a gentleman just like me'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Gertrude is also depicted by the author as na�ve, in this case not by what she does or does not believe, but by her reactions to 'normal' events. She is shocked by the fact that the milkers sons have no decent boots and wonders why she is 'stared at'. When contrasting the two author's styles, Hardy however describes the characters less, and as it is a short story, showing less character development in his portrayal of such people. We do, for example, see Gertrude try out the mystical beliefs of around her however. Harper Lee makes good use of the many characters in the book to give opinions on the outsiders, for example Atticus, which when contrasting, for example from the Ewells and Miss Maudie, leaves us to form our own opinion. 'The Withered Arm' has fewer characters so the outsiders are clearly pinpointed from the start, and generally, only one opinion for example regarding Gertrude by the milkmaids, is given. In conclusion, Hardy and Harper Lee both write about outsiders as a means to communicate their own, partly autobiographical beliefs, and both do so using description, actions and dialogues from the characters. They are both trying to show how these communities produce such outsiders, and how it may or may not be their own fault. Inevitably, the consequence they are trying to show, for not conforming to the rigid rules of society, is that the outsiders are divided from it. ...read more.

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