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What does To Kill a Mockingbird suggest about the culture of Alabama (U.S.A.) in the 1930s ?

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Introduction

What does "To Kill a Mockingbird" suggest about the culture of Alabama (U.S.A.) in the 1930's ? In this essay I will be attempting to answer the above question. "When it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins." This is the first point I will be looking at; racism. I will be looking at different situations throughout the novel, how the views of whites and blacks differ. This is the most important plot as it takes up the main plot of the novel. I will also be looking at how the community of Maycomb acts towards outsiders. In particular I will be looking at Boo Radley. I will also be looking at how the community of Maycomb treats Atticus when he decides to take the case of Tom Robinson and defend a black man. For my third point I will be looking at the attitudes of the Ewells, Cunninghams, and Finches towards children and education. Another of my points of discussion will be attitudes towards women, looking at Scout's clothes, the absence of women on the jury, Mayella Ewell, and Mrs. Dubose. I will conclude by discussing the ideas of communities: how do they help and support each other and how do the outsiders fit in? These are the five points I will be looking at. So, to begin with racism. The main plot is based on racial prejudiced. In Maycomb there are several different types of racism. ...read more.

Middle

When people heard about this they started to treat Atticus as an outsider. They believed that Atticus shouldn't be defending Tom against a white family, this angered people. During the lead up to the court case Atticus got quite a lot of abuse. One night when Atticus was sat outside Tom's cell when a gang came along with high intentions of injuring or even killing Tom. They only left when Scout came along and made them feel really ashamed of themselves. After the court case, people stopped treating Atticus like an outsider when they realised he had done the right thing. He also gained a lot of respect off the black community. In my third point I will be looking at attitudes towards women in the 1930's. The attitudes were definitely different from nowadays. First of all there were no women on juries, as seen towards the end of the novel when Jem is talking to Atticus about the death of Tom and the guilty verdict given to him. Jem pointed out that if women like Mrs. Dubose were allowed on the jury the right verdict would have been given. Atticus pointed out that women weren't allowed on the jury and that it was just a fact of life and it couldn't be changed. He said he would never see things change and if Jem did he would be a very old man. Scout has a habit of going round in trousers and overalls. Aunt Alexandra is furious about this as she as the kind of woman that thinks they should always where dresses and anything they need trousers for they shouldn't be doing in the first place. ...read more.

Conclusion

I will also be looking at how the Ewells fit in. The white community is not that close; they don't have that many communal gatherings. The women talk and gossip a lot but there is not much. The black community is very close. They all know each other well and help each other whenever they can. They don't have much but they still enjoy life. At the church services they can't afford hymn books, it wouldn't matter if they could anyway, only one or two of them can read. They have one person leading and the rest follow his words. The black community support each other a lot. The Ewells don't take part in any of the Maycomb community activities. They believe they are better than the Maycomb community even though they're not. So, what does "To Kill a Mockingbird" suggest about the culture of Alabama in the 1930's ? Well, looking at the points I have made in this essay I have come up with the following conclusion. Racism was a major problem in the 1930's. Sexism was also a problem; women didn't have the same rights as men. Stereotyping also existed in Alabama. People shouldn't be excluded because of how they are. Attitudes towards education were generally good. The only problem was black people didn't have an education and that goes back to racism, I would expect if racism got sorted out so would education for black people. There is one big positive thing in the 1930's. That is the black community, they support each other to the full extent and this is a good thing. ...read more.

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