How Does The Setting Contribute To The Theme Of Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird"?

627 words - 3 pages

Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" takes place in a small southern town of Maycomb, Alabama during the early 1930s, where prejudice was at its peak. The story unfolds through the eyes of a six-year-old girl named Scout Finch. The universal truth applied in this book is the different forms of prejudice existing in a discriminatory society. The setting of the novel enables us to come to a better understanding of why certain events happen under the circumstances and eventually inform us about the theme.Maycomb, a typical small town in southern Alabama, has the prejudicial attitude which triggers many incidents and also establishes the status of people. Most people have the same beliefs and values in the community of Maycomb. There is a strong division of classes within Maycomb and the rigid class structure has an extensive effect on the events. For instance, Scout condescends to Walter Cunningham when she is explaining to Miss Caroline about his situation. Scout judges Walter based on his family and she is labeling him as the "Cunningham family" which is seemingly meant to be poor and poverty. When Scout tells Miss Caroline about the Cunningham, she thinks it is "clear enough" (24) to the rest of the people. The story is set during the Great Depression, at a time in which millions of Americans lost their jobs. Many people lost their homes, their land, and their dignity. Burris Ewell is not accepted in Maycomb as well. The class says to Miss Caroline that he is "one of the Ewells" (31) and that the Ewells are "members of an exclusive society made up of Ewells" (35). Gossips can affect key events and even the smallest details because they make everyone to prejudge others. To some degree, it is all under Maycomb's definition system.Unfortunately, the Great Depression changed public attitudes and created racist mentality as well...

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