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Is Maycomb a microcosm of America's society in the 1930's?

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Introduction

IS Maycomb a microcosm of America's society in the 1930's? By Mariam Nouri In the novel, 'To kill a Mocking Bird', the Author describes the town in which the novel is set, to be a microcosm of America's society in the 1930's. By definition, microcosm means; 'a community or other unity that is an epitome of another unity.' Epitome means; 'brief or miniature form.' Therefore, if one said Maycomb (town that the novel is based in) was a microcosm of America in the 1930's, this would mean that Maycomb was a miniature form of America. This statement is true because, throughout the book the people of Maycomb show views and beliefs, which the majority of people in America believed in that period of time. For example: in the novel, the people of Maycomb are racist against black people because, of their skin colour. In the 1930's the majority of American people felt and behaved in this manner. Another way that Maycomb reflects America in the 1930's is the people of Maycomb have many conflicts within the same religion. For example; Miss Maudie, a very fair woman within the novel says to Scout (main character in novel) "My shell's not that hard, child. I'm just a Baptist... Foot washers believe that anything that's pleasure is a sin... told me my flowers were going to hell." This shows that even within the same religion people are disagreeing over beliefs. This corresponds to America in the 1930's; as this kind of conflict was commonly know in those days. Many of the Residents in Maycomb consider themselves to be Christians but they all seem to have separate rules. The so called 'Foot washing Baptists' seem to exclude Miss Maudie even though she is of their own religious book. Hypocrisy is seen in Maycomb among religious groups who are supposedly meant to be promoting a ' love for fellow man' The black people and the White people have separate churches even though they are of the same religion and beliefs. ...read more.

Middle

Throughout the Novel, Maycomb county people were racist. In Maycomb the racism isn't even repelled against by the Blacks because they too, don't know any better and ACTUALLY believe that this was their place and this is the way it had to be!! This is obviously much different from the circumstances of today. Even within the young, prejudice is shown. Jem shows this when he says: " There are four kinds of folks in the world. There's the ordinary kind like us and the neighbours, there's the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells down at the dump, and the Negroes." When Jem says this he refers to four types of people present in Maycomb: Finches and neighbours - White Middle Class Cunninghams - Badly hit farming community Ewells - Lowest Class of Whites (White trash) Blacks - Seen as bottom of social strata This shows that even Jem and Scout, the children of Atticus, one of the most un-prejudices people within Maycomb still think in this way. This is through no fault of their own it's because, of the era they are brought up in and the affect of other people's views. In the 1930's, the civil war had long been over but divisions were still strongly present between counties and states. Although, this caused many negative vibes between different sections of America e.g. North and south, if there was a crisis the neighbouring counties would forget their differences and unity would be shown. Harper Lee shows this in the novel. He shows this when Miss Maudie's house catches fire. As the fire engine comes all the way from a neighbouring county. The fire engine has to travel though the snow and there are big problems but they keep going. This shows a great deal of unity, as the two counties don't particularly get along. He also shows unity within the Maycomb residents themselves at the same point in the novel. ...read more.

Conclusion

lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women, an assumption one associates with minds of their calibre... Thomas Jefferson once said that all men are created equal... But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal ... in this country our courts are the great levellers, and in our courts all men are created equal." This statement shows the passion Atticus has against racism. He knows they will not agree all men are equal outside the Court room so he tries to make them see beyond the colour of Tom Robinson but to see the innocence forgetting that he is what they consider to be 'second class citizen.' In the 1930's America was a mixture of complex societies. There were many immigrants from different countries, different etnic groups, different economic levels in society (e.g. class) etc. There was a lot of tension between these different groups in society. This is also shown throughout Maycomb, there seems to be a split between all different people in Maycomb and tension is present between groups. There are the Black People, the White people, poor people, rich people, and foot washing Baptists, Baptists, and Methodists. All these points show that Maycomb is in fact a Microcosm of America in the 1930's. All the beliefs and issues present in America are shown in different ways throughout the book. The Racial prejudice, The Justice / in-justice, the depression and the causes of the depression, the courage shown by individuals e.g. Martin Luther King in comparison to say Atticus in Maycomb, the way the people unite in times of crisis, the hypocrisy in religion and the algamation of different societies. Evidently, in conclusion I would say 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Harper Lee Is in fact a reliable example of life in America during the 1930's. It is a small portrait of the lives of different groups present in America. By Mariam Nouri ...read more.

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