Contemporary Australian Cultural Issues In The Works Of Harper Lee

1306 words - 5 pages

Harper lee examines key cultural issues in her novel to kill a mockingbird, such as racism, socio-economic status and prejudice. These issues are still relevant to contemporary Australian society. She examines these issues throughout her book in many different ways, from many different points of view and from many different opinions from the characters in the book.
The book is set in a small town called Maycomb in America and takes place during the depression years. The town of Maycomb is a town which is old and is not well looked after and is described as dirty in the book. The people who live in and around Maycomb on farms are poor people, as a result of the depression.
The main characters of the book are the finches. The Finch family comprises of Atticus the father and his two kids Jem and scout who narrates the story. The story is about life in maycomb seen through the eyes of children.
Life in Maycomb is full of issues such as racism, socio-economic status and prejudice. Racism and socio-econic status are easily the two most noticeable issues that the book revolves around. These issues are relevant to contempory Australian society in many different ways.
Socio-economic status is the main theme at the start of the book. A good example of this issue is when Jem invites Walter Cunningham to have lunch with himself, Scout and Atticus, because he does not have any lunch money as his family is too poor to afford it. They sit down for lunch and Walter drenches his food with syrup and scout thinks this is ungrateful and rude so she remarks by asking him what the Sam hill he is doing.
Walter was embarrassed and Atticus shakes his head at her and she protests “but he has gone and drowned his dinner with syrup,” “he’s poured it all over.” Calpurnia an African American women who is the finches maid then requests Scout in the kitchen.

She is furious with Scout and says to her “there’s some folks who don’t eat like us,” “but you ain’t called on to contradict ‘em at the table when they don’t. That boys yo’ comp’ny, and if he wants to eat up the table cloth you let him, you hear.” Then Scout says “but Cal he’s just a Cunningham. Cal then tells Scout to hush her mouth and says to her that she and her family may be better than the cunninghams but that doesn’t mean you disgrace them for what they are.
This is an issue, socio-economic status because just because Walter may be poorer and may act differently to the Finch’s, doesn’t mean he is any different from them.
Socio-economic status is still a contemporary issue in Australia today. An example of this is homeless and underprivileged people who are discriminated against because of their socio-economic status. They may be poorer than some people and may act differently to them but does this make them different or bad people? No they are the same as everybody else with the exception they cannot afford the stuff that other people can.
This issue can also be seen at school, It is seen nearly...

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