Body Language In To Kill A Mockingbird

889 words - 4 pages

Everyone has heard the saying “actions speak louder than words.” How people say something and what they do while saying something can completely change the mood of a conversation; this is known as nonverbal communication. One of the biggest factors in nonverbal communication is body language. In To Kill a Mockingbird, voice tone, posture, body movements, and facial expressions are a big part of the body language. Harper Lee excels in not only writing the dialogue of a character, but adding detail, like body language, that helps the reader better understand the characters and the ongoing story.

The night before the big trial in Maycomb County, there was an angry mob planning on ...view middle of the document...

see separately. What the reader gets to see because of this point of view, is Mayella looking up into the crowd, to her father. She sees him “sitting with his chair tipped against the railing. He sat up straight and waited for her to answer” (183). The way Mr. Ewell is so nonchalant, tipping his chair back against the railing, while listening to the trial makes it seem like he knows he is going to win the case. Then, when he slams his chair down, it makes it seem that he was trying to scare Mayella into saying what he wanted her to say. This sudden eye contact and movement from Bob Ewell makes the reader finally realize that Tom Robinson is innocent, and that Bob is feeding Mayella lies for reasons unknown.

The other vital scene aforementioned from the Robinson-Ewell case was when the jurors came back into the courtroom. This scene was one of the more upsetting scenes of the story, because Tom Robinson was found guilty. Scout however, wasn’t surprised when the judge called the guilty verdict because even she, a seven year old, knew to look at the jurors’ body language when coming back into the room. “A jury never looks at a defendant it has convicted, and when this jury came in, not one of them looked at Tom Robinson” (211). Lee adds this detail to not only expound upon the intelligence of this young girl, but also to enlighten the reader and give them a sense of knowing, as well.

Lastly, Lee’s incorporation of body language helps...

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