• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To Kill a Mockingbird

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Question: What aspects of Small town life does Harper Lee show which influence the behaviour of its inhabitants? The novel of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is set in the heart of Maycomb County, Alabama in the late 1930's, at the end of the world economic depression. As is seen in the novel, many of white people in Maycomb have joined pressure groups to try and ensure white supremacy over the black community. Maycomb is described by Harper Lee as if it was a character; it is described as being old, worn out, unkept, slow-moving, insular, poor and conservative, but it is also described with hope 'vague optimism' . This influences the behaviour of the inhabitants as the people of the town take on these characteristics as is seen in the novel. Many of the citizens in Maycomb show these characteristics alter their behaviour in different ways. Some like Mrs. Dubose show it in their attitude and physical appearance, as she has lived in Maycomb all of her life and she is old, worn out and slow moving. Others show these characteristics with there mental attitude. ...read more.

Middle

The views of the county are split over this case and this is where Harper Lee shows us the minorities of the county and the exceptions to the isolationistic view. 'I hope and pray that I can get Jem and Scout through this without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb's unusual disease'. The disease that Atticus is talking about is the spreading of the idea that Negro's are inferior and shouldn't have the respect of white people. 'I hope Scout and Jem come to me for answers instead of listening to the town.' Atticus is an example of the few exceptions to the isolationist mentality that has engulfed the community. Harper Lee shows us that many of the people in Maycomb that support the blacks' cause are afraid to show the true reasons why they supported blacks. Dolphus Raymond is a prime example of this as he is married to a black woman and many of the people of Maycomb feel that he is evil. Scout and Dill both show this when they see Dolphus outside the court house. Dolphus Raymond puts on a 'front' every time that he goes into town to give people a reason why he behaves the way he does. ...read more.

Conclusion

The main aspect was the verdict and this therefore has the effect that Tom Robinson took his own life. This shows that there were many knock on effects. Thus, showing us that everything in the novel happened for a reason. Harper Lee shows that Maycomb hasn't changed for many years. Small town life has influenced the behaviour of its inhabitants through gossip and the fear of change. The fear of change has led people to become set in their ways and therefore, they will do anything to keep their society the same. Gossip has enabled myths, fears, untruths and prejudices to spread throughout the town. These stories shape people's attitudes towards each other and towards the decisions that they make on subjects such as discrimination. A prime example of this is the children. They become wiser as they grow up; thus showing that gossip has influenced their decisions. They learn that not everything is true and people may want to be different from the society and not castled out, which is what's suggested in the novel. 'I think that I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in that house all this time.... It's because he wants to stay inside.' ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Harper Lee section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Harper Lee essays

  1. What impressions are there of life in Maycomb in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

    "Mr Cunningham could get a W.P.A job, but his land would go to ruin if he left it." With the Ewells, especially Bob Ewell, they have no pride or dignity. They do a lot of things that are illegal and shameful to Maycomb.

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird (Chapter summaries).

    Chapter 14 In this chapter we hear more about how Aunt Alexandra tried to change things in the house and how she would make decisions about what Scout and Jem could and couldn't do. She also the only person she has ever heard argue with Atticus, she argued about the

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    Those who are forced to stay inside are victims of society's influence, especially Boo Radley and Tom, who both live within their respective forms of jail for much of the book. Atticus is an exception: the presence of his office gives him a different kind of house to live in,

  2. What do we learn about Maycomb society in Harper Lee's; To Kill a Mockingbird?

    Similarly, later on in the book, although there was no proof of Tom Robinson raping Mayella, because he is black, he is found guilty. This reflects the opinions of most of the people in Maycomb, with exception however of Atticus Finch; Jem and Scouts father.

  1. I am going to write about the two main problems in Maycomb society which ...

    In the book the best example of physical racism is when Tom Robinson gets shot. He was shot whilst trying to escape over the fence in jail. The most shocking fact is that Tom was shot 17 times. 'Seventeen bullet holes in him' declares Atticus.

  2. We are told that " Maycomb County.... had nothing to fear but fear itself" ...

    Even Scout thinks that Dolphus Raymond is and "evil man" because she hears rumours that he is an alcoholic. People fear him because they don't understand why he would throw away respectability for spending time with Negroes. He even has to pretend to be an alcoholic to help the people of Maycomb understand what he is doing.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird Lit Review

    They could survive on their own and live in Maycomb all their lives without the need of going elsewhere. Because Maycomb was a white-dominant community, the courtroom, schools, and public facilities were all controlled and available to white people only; a clear sign of the racism in this town.

  2. Many characters in To Kill A Mockingbird are isolated from mainstream society. Discuss the ...

    This make the reader think that this is unfair and racist. She also says: "I tell you if my sophy'd kept it up another day I'd have let her go. It never entered that wool of hers that the only reason I keep her is because this depression's on and

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work