• 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 Essay: Powerful and Powerless

Extracts from this document...


The concept of Powerful and Powerless is an integral part of our society, this idea is vividly explored in Harper Lee's 1960 novel, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (Arrow Books 1997). Set in the fictitious town of Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930's, Harper is able to explore intimately themes of prejudice, courage, community and innocence to perfectly embody the idea of powerfulness and in contrast powerlessness. This essay will further expand on these themes in their relation to characters such as Atticus, Mrs Dubose, Miss Gates and Boo Radley, and the way in which Lee is able to convey her assumptions in this engaging novel. Courage is clearly elucidated in the characters of both Atticus and Mrs Dubose to be a quality that empowers the individual. Atticus puts himself in the middle of a conflict between Tom Robinson and the Ewells, an act so courageous that his brother compares him to Christ. Harper Lee utilises the technique of allusion in the quote "let this cup pass from you, eh?" alluding to the night before Christs crucifixion where he prayed that he might avoid his fate. ...read more.


Racial prejudice is illustrated in the novel to kill a mockingbird to be a trait that morally disempowers the individuals and groups involved. Lee uses the technique of irony to illuminate the absurdity of the racial discrimination and prejudice that existed within the context of the book. Miss Gates is highly prejudiced and mirrors perfectly the prejudiced nature of her greater community. In reply to one of Miss Gates pupil's remarks concerning Hitler's unreasonable treatment of Jews, she ironically explained "Jews have been persecuted since the beginning of history, even driven out of their own country. It's one of the most terrible stories in history". This statement is eminently ironic because African Americans have always and continue to be persecuted in her context. This is amplified by her statement outside the classroom "'it's time somebody taught 'em (African-Americans) a lesson, they were gettin' way above themselves, an' the next thing they think they can do is marry us.' Miss Gates shows no from of recognition of the persecution that blacks have had to endure in her own town of Maycomb, yet she showed compassion for the unfair treatment of Jews by Hitler. ...read more.


what other people say about him. This disempowers Boo for he does not have his own 'voice', and is essentially characterized via other peoples viewpoints, not that of himself. The neighbourhood of Maycomb community is left with the perception that Boo is uninviting, dangerous and evil. His figure of love and innocence is shielded and surpassed with the stories regarding Boo imparted by characters such as Miss Maudie. Additionally, we can gather through the juxtaposition of the mockingbird and the cruel innate world in which it lives in, that Harper lee was endeavouring to, and ultimately succeeded in emphasizing the innocent and childlike nature of Boo Radley. Lee's symbolism of the mockingbird and the juxtaposition with the evil world in which it surrounds effectively conveys the powerless nature of human beings like Boo Radley. As evident, 'To Kill A Mockingbird' effortlessly portrays the idea of powerful and powerless throughout her many characters. Lee's characters teach us many lessons, and impart valuable, life long information. They teach of the importance of moral courage, innocence and communities, but also the dangers of prejudice and how this can be a trait of disempowerment. Harper's novel is truly a novel of inspiration and will be read for many generations to come. ...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 Writing to Inform, Explain and Describe section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This analysis is communicated well and a variety of ideas are explored and a good level of understanding of the novel is demonstrated. The points being made do need to be supported with evidence from the text so specific analysis of the language, form and structure can take place alongside the explanation of the themes covered in the novel.

4 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 05/09/2013

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 Writing to Inform, Explain and Describe essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Narrative essay 1

    5 star(s)

    The villagers had come, they pour water, but the shack merely consumed it, emitting more smoke as if to deter us. All the villagers' efforts to put off the fire were hopeless. I stood there, still trying to fight the arm, which still grabbed on to me tight.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Creative Writing - Gothic Horror

    3 star(s)

    Somehow I don't know why but I was drawn towards the door and so I went through it. And I found myself back in the main house, but it was as if I had gone back in time, because everything was a lot darker.

  1. How does Shakespeare present Macbeth throughout the play

    Macbeth wasn't totally insane and knew he couldn't just rub out what he had done or bring the dead back alive and was looking for a strategy which would get him out of this situation. 'It will have blood they: blood will have blood'.

  2. Descriptive Writing: A beautiful landscape or natural scene which has stuck in your memory. ...

    I began to panic believing I had turned deaf. I thought, and then realised it was my intense concentration of the Ka'bah, that made me deaf from everything. I became deeply intoxicated with my love for it. Then the famous saying of the messenger Muhammad came to my mind.

  1. A Day in the Life of a Dog

    My tongue was hanging out of my mouth and I was breathing heavily because I was in need of a drink. It was scary because how was I going to adapt to life as a dog. I didn't know how I was going to get a drink or food.

  2. english descriptive essay- The Match

    Splat, the coach whipped my back with his belt. "It is high time you start practice, eh? Boy" said the coach. Now this guy was another exasperating creature and I had no intention of listening to him but I had to, only because I wanted to make my team win

  1. Imaginative essay

    The Zeus's were magical tiger headed creatures with lion bodies. They were the guards of the king. They had the strength of tigers and lions and were unbeatable by the other animals. Christen was jealous of King Kane, as he achieved the feat in such a short span of time.

  2. Romeo and Juliet Study of Male Characters

    In Act 3 Scene 1, we are warned that something dire is going to happen. Shakespeare creates an uneasy atmosphere by reducing the masculinity from the opening of the scene by making Benvolio seem nervous. He knows that the Capulets are out "And, if we meet, we shall not scape

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