Family Life In ' To Kill A Mockingbird

841 words - 3 pages

In order to appreciate To Kill A Mockingbird fully, we should be familiar with some of the background of its setting. The South in the colonial times grew into an area with large cotton plantations and small cities. Because of the necessity for cheap labour to pick and seed the cotton, Negro slavery took a strong hold there. At the outbreak of the American Revolution, there were over 500,000 slaves in this country, with by far the greatest number in the South. As time passed, plantation owners formed a landed aristocracy. The Negroes, though slaves, gained a measure of economic security. On the perimeter of this were the poorer white farmers who either owned small pieces of land or worked as sharecroppers. To Kill a Mockingbird is set against this background of 1930 Southern life. The Finches are a family who once had a large, successful plantation. Their ancestors had been aristocratic ladies and gentlemen of the South. Now they have been reduced to gentile poverty. They are better off by far than the Cunningham's, for example, who have nothing but their land. Atticus Finch is highly respected throughout the community mainly due to his law career. There are many different kinds of family life in "To Kill A Mockingbird". There are white families who are higher and lower class and then black families. I think that Harper Lee exaggerates the family hierarchy, i.e. the lower class families are shown as being very poor while the higher-class families are shown to be almost ideal. This makes it clearer to us how different the families are.The Finch family would be an example of an ideal family, which is ironic considering that there is no mother. They are a poor family although better off than most and stand near the top of Maycomb's social hierarchy. There is a lot of love, trust and security within the family. Atticus is a very good father and has brought Scout and Jem up to be very mature and respectful. He devotes himself to his children despite criticism from family and neighbors who think his children lack discipline and proper guidance. Atticus is a wise man, committed to justice and equality, and his parenting style is based on fostering these virtues in his children - he even encourages Jem and Scout to call him 'Atticus' so that they can interact on terms as equal as possible. Throughout the novel, Atticus works to develop Scout and Jem's...

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