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

What do we learn about the life and inhabitants of Maycomb in Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mocking Bird'?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What do we learn about the life and inhabitants of Maycomb in Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mocking Bird'? Harper Lee, the American author grew up in the town of Monroeville, Alabama in the depression of the 1930s. The town has physically changed little since the thirties; many original buildings such as the courthouse and jailhouse still stand. However, these buildings are no longer used for their original purposes - the have become tourist attractions, viewed by visitors from across the world. But why do these people choose to visit Monroeville? The answer lies in a book, Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. This is an account of a childhood in 'Maycomb,' a thinly disguised Monroeville, told from the point of view of Jean-Louse Finch. The book was written in the early 1960's and is divided into two parts, the first of which gives an overall view of the community, and the second concentrates on a court case, in which many members of the community show their true prejudices towards the black community. Prejudice is very apparent within Maycomb, although it is not only the obvious racial prejudice. ...read more.

Middle

Although the evidence suggests that Tom Robinson is innocent, the entire jury finds him guilty. Bob Ewell, despite the being seen as no better than dirt, is still believed and respected more than Tom Robinson. A similar contrast is found between another two families, the Finch family, and Dill's family, the Harris family. The Depression has not affected these as much as the Ewells and Cunninghams, and they are probably two of the most wealthy families in the story. However, the contrast occurs in the parent/child relationships. As a family, the Finches are very close. There are very few points in the story where there is any friction between Atticus and the children, and mainly they work together. Dill is solitary, a 'pocket Merlin' who is independent from his family. He likes the Finch household due to the relaxed atmosphere and the obvious love between Atticus and the children. Two of the most important characters in the novel are the adults that the children learn from throughout. These are Jem and Scout's father, lawyer Atticus, and their household servant, the black Calpurnia. ...read more.

Conclusion

One of the important parts of the backdrop to the story is the history of Maycomb itself. As with many of the southern states, less than a century before the story is set, black Africans were brought to the area as slaves. Even after they were freed, many people regarded black people as inferior or subhuman. There were also other problems for the freed slaves and their descendants. They were forced to find employment as servants and many were badly treated and paid very little. However, there were no alternatives, so black people had to continue living as slaves to receive any income. Overall, 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' presents a realistic and poignant view of a Southern American town during the years of the depression. The child's view gives an innocent and mainly unbiased view of events and characters, and emphasises the obvious prejudices and injustices occurring due to the colour of a person's skin, the social class of their parents, their education, or their ideologies, beliefs or principles. The underlying message from the story can be indicated in on sentence, said by Dolphus Raymond while contemplating the trial of Tom Robinson, 'Cry about the simple hell people give ... folks, without even thinking that they're people too.' ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 of 2 ...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. Marked by a teacher

    What Is The Importance Of "Atticus Finch" in "To Kill A Mocking Bird" by ...

    4 star(s)

    as Atticus, and we see how the character of Atticus Finch reacts to the issues thrown at him.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Examine the different kinds of prejudice and injustice which you have found in 'To ...

    4 star(s)

    Mayella is prejudged for where she lives and the reputation of her family. The injustice disturbing her is the way her father treats her and the rules she has to abide by. She is forced to live the way she does by her father who has taken all of her rights away.

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

    You rarely win, but sometimes you do" This statement sums up Atticus's beliefs about courage. Atticus had great respect for Ms. Dubose, as even though there beliefs were very different and they're opinions on life and others very opposite. He considered her one of the greatest people in Maycomb, "She was the bravest person I ever knew."

  2. Atticus Finch & Silas Marner - Good Parents?

    This makes me think that Silas himself was brought up in a strict family, but he wants to bring Eppie up differently. This shows that Silas like the times is changing into a much newer way of looking at things.

  1. Compare and contrast how the role of childhood is presented in the novels To ...

    their friend Pecola Breedlove, the central characters in The Bluest Eye, live somewhat differently. Claudia describes their home: "Our house is old, cold, and green. At night a kerosene lamp lights one large room. The others are braced in darkness, peopled by roaches and mice."

  2. How effectively does Harper Lee convey her ideas about prejudice in her novel To ...

    It seems as the readers, we were given misleading, accurate information throughout the novel until his emergence at the end of the novel. On the other hand, his appearance may've been monstrous; he has a contrasting personality 'His grey eyes were colourless.

  1. What important lessons do the children learn in Part I of 'To Kill a ...

    The Cunninghams never took anything they can't pay back". Scout realises that Miss Caroline is new to the county so does not know the ways of everyone here. Scout has been brought up by her father Atticus, who is very fair minded and treats everybody as individuals, so Scout acts like this too.

  2. How does Harper Lee bring out different aspects of Atticus?

    Atticus is also shown to have a strength, not in a physical sense, but in his ability to withstand social expectations. This is made clear when he chooses to defend a Negro named Tom Robinson. When questioned, he responds ?if I didn?t, I couldn?t hold my head up my head in town?.

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