Q: Explain how the novel you have studied reflects the time and place in which it was written. In your response, you must refer to contextual elements relevant to your novel.
· Embedded institutionalised prejudice
· Significance and irony of religion in forging a moral compass
· Hypocrisy as a consequence of extreme poverty
· Overarching impacts of social ignorance and lack of education
Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) critiques and reflects upon the 1930’s and 1950’s. The novel alludes to the progressive ideologies of the 1950’s while closely examining the institutionalised prejudice against African Americans during the 1930’s, the conflicting decades pose the novel as reflective of the setting and context of the outside world. The novel is set during The Great Depression, in a small town called Maycomb in Alabama. Although the novel is part of the historical fiction genre, it conveys the context of the 1930’s while also critiquing the embedded institutionalised prejudice within America’s society and the winds of social change blowing through America in the 1950’s.
Character presentation in To Kill a Mockingbird plays an important role in establishing the winds of social and racial change of the 1950’s. In 1960, when To Kill a Mockingbird was published, much of white America viewed the coming together of the races as immoral, dangerous, even ungodly. Atticus became agitated within the strictures of society, he pushed for social and racial change when he became Tom Robinson’s attorney. This is shown during Atticus’ speech when he says, ‘You know the truth, and the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women—black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men.’ Atticus is right to conclude that society needs to judge people as individuals rather than by race, this is representative of the wave of social change in Maycomb, headed by Atticus. Lee’s minor characters also prove to be agitating the strictures when Link Deas calls out during the trial; ‘That boy’s worked for me eight years an’ I ain’t had a speck o’trouble outa him. Not a speck.’ It depicts...