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What has Harper Lee got to say about prejudice/labelling and what techniques does she use to present these themes? (Part 1)

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What has Harper Lee got to say about prejudice/labelling and what techniques does she use to present these themes? (Part 1) In To Kill a Mockingbird, there is a lot of prejudice and labelling, and this is the main theme that the book is based around. We learn a lot from this, as it gives an insight to racism in history in America, and we also learn that a lot of people can be biased due to this. This in the end leads to people being outsiders, because they are not seen by their fellow neighbours as fit to be part of Maycomb. In this essay I shall explore this theme in more detail. The story is set in the 1930s, hence the common use of the word "nigger". This is a convenient way to highlight the racism of various characters in the book. Usually, when she refers to African-Americans, Harper Lee uses the term "coloured", but it is not only racist whites who use the word "nigger", as Calpurnia also calls Lula this at the First Purchase Church. ...read more.


Atticus lives in a racist and sexist society, but shares neither prejudice. He respects people of colour; he gives Calpurnia complete discretion in running his house, and defends her when Aunt Alexandra says "something something" (page something). We admire him for this, but as we realise throughout the book, his neighbours outcast him for this, but we admire him even more when he stands up for his own opinion, and appears not to care. Harper Lee shows us a variety of outcast or "different" people in Maycomb county. The first most obvious one is Boo Radley, the misfit who is misunderstood. This reminds me of other stories with a familiar character: Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Edward Scissorhands or Babe. Boo Radley is seen by other people not as a person, but more as a thing to be feared. The adults' fears and feelings towards Boo are shown in a more obvious and conspicuous way when Jem, Dill and Scout play games and do things that show they are curious about him. ...read more.


In Maycomb, there is a hierarchy, with the Finches near the top, and the townspeople below them. Then towards the bottom are the Cunninghams, and finally the Ewells. But the black community is below the Ewells, and this is why Bob Ewell makes up for his lack of importance when he persecutes Tom Robinson later on in the book. Overall, prejudice and labelling is not really as pointed in Part 1 of the book as it is in Part 2, especially during the persecution of Tom Robinson and when the reader is introduced to Mr Dolphus Raymond, we are given more insight into the outcasts of Maycomb. But in Part 1, we are shown how the people in Maycomb were very prejudiced against not only black people, but also outsiders, as they did not conform to what was "normal", and in the book there are many outsiders in the book whom the reader sympathises with. In Part 1, we learn (especially from Boo Radley) that however strange, mysterious or different a person might be, they always have some good in them, and they are still human, and should be treated equally. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sally 10G ...read more.

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