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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a novel that teaches the audience many life lessons.

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Introduction

'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee is a novel that teaches the audience many life lessons. Throughout the story, the narrator, Scout Finch is able to teach the audience about racism, prejudice and social class. These three themes all impact the reader and are able to teach them life lessons which may make them better people. Harper Lee has been able to do this through several important language techniques. The themes shown will particularly stem from Chapter 23 which is the result of a lot of the author's thoughts on society. Reading 'To Kill a Mockingbird' makes you a better person in many different ways primarily because it makes you realise that the colour of your skin does not matter- it is who you are on the inside that counts. Harper Lee used a variety of literary techniques to make the novel interesting. Harper Lee used symbolism, humour, suspense, juxtaposition, dialect, flashback and irony in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. This novel is related to Harper Lee's own life as she lived in Monroeville, Alabama, a town very much like the imaginary town of Maycomb. The trial of Tom Robinson is very similar to other trials that occurred during Lee's childhood, for example the trials of the Scottsboro Boys, as the defendants were both falsely accused by white girls of rape. In both trials the defendants were African-American and were both set during The Great Depression in Alabama. The significance of the context for this story is important because it tells you what 'To Kill a Mockingbird' was based on and the time it was written in. There are two linked stories in this novel. One is about Jean Louise Finch - Scout, her brother Jem, their friend Dill and their fascination with a neighbourhood outcast named Arthur Radley - Boo. The other story is about Tom Robinson, an African American who was falsely accused of rape by a poor white girl named Mayella Ewell. ...read more.

Middle

This makes us better people as we learn not to be prejudice against anyone because of their social status or because of where they come from. Maycomb County is a town full of prejudiced people towards those of low social class. The theme of prejudice in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is portrayed right through the entire story as it is something that runs rampant throughout Maycomb County. Harper Lee depicts the theme of prejudice using dialogue as shown in this quote by Aunt Alexandra when Scout suggests inviting Walter over for dinner: "Jean Louise, there is no doubt in my mind that they're good folks. But they're not our kind of folks." In this quote Aunt Alexandra is clearly saying that there is more than one type of folk and that they are better than the Cunninghams. Aunt Alexandra has prejudice against the Cunninghams because they are poor and come from the woods. Another quote that explores the theme of prejudice is also spoken by Aunt Alexandra comparing Walter to Jem: "'Don't be silly, Jean Louise,' said Aunt Alexandra.' The thing is, you can scrub Walter Cunningham till he shines, you can put him in new shoes and new suit, but he'll never be like Jem. (.....) Finch women aren't interested in that sort of people." Aunt Alexandra is telling Scout to stay away from Walter and his "sort of people" because she does not want Finches mixing with the Cunninghams. Aunt Alexandra also says that even if the Cunninghams were related to the Finches, the answer about inviting Walter home for dinner would still be the same. Harper Lee uses comparison to show the difference between the Cunningham and Finch men. In this quote, Aunt Alexandra is saying that no matter what you do to Walter, he has the blood of a Cunningham which, according to her makes them lower than the Finches. ...read more.

Conclusion

Harper Lee uses juxtaposition to contrast the difference between a racist side and an innocent side. This is to show the innocence of Jem and how he does not understand why Tom should be convicted when he is clearly innocent. We learn here that the people of Maycomb convict Tom Robinson only because he is a different colour to them, he is not white and so he is inferior to them. This teaches us that no matter what colour anyone is, we do not have the right to judge them. Another quote which depicts the theme of racism is one by Scout about how different Calpurnia's way of life is compared to hers: "(...) when i was absorbed with plans to visit Calpurnia's house - I was curious, interested; I wanted to be her 'company', to see how she lived, who her friends were. I might as well have wanted to see the other side of the moon." In this quote Harper Lee uses hyperbole to exaggerate the whereabouts of Calpurnia and Scouts wish to visit her. Here Scout is saying that Calpurnia might as well be living on the other side of the world, and the answer she got was more like asking to visit the other side of Earth. In 'To Kill a Mockingbird' the children experience and react to the influences of family life, education and their religion. They also confront the painful realities of racism and prejudice during the trial of Tom Robinson. Through these experiences the children begin their journey to adulthood and maturity. We, on the other hand learn many life lessons during the course of this book. They have helped us understand the mind of society and the way people think. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is a unique story that tells a tale of love, hate and many things in-between. * http://rantery.awardspace.com/articles/mockingbird.html * http://teenink.com/hot_topics/pride_prejudice/article/137405/Social-Classes-of-To-Kill-A-Mockingbird/ * http://www.shmoop.com/to-kill-a-mockingbird/setting.html * http://www.articlesbase.com/languages-articles/what-message-does-the-novel-to-kill-a-mockingbird-convey-about-prejudice-339702.html * http://www.gradesaver.com/to-kill-a-mockingbird/study-guide/major-themes/ * History in Literature, The story behind Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird'- Bryon Giddens-White - Harcourt Education Ltd, 2007 ?? ?? ?? ?? It might be said: ??? Amina Saad ...read more.

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