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Picture Perfect Essay

1329 words - 6 pages

“‘You want to grow up to be a lady, don’t you?’ I said not particularly” (Lee). Jean Louise Finch is a tomboy growing up in a world where a girl is expected to become a lady. Submissive housewives and proper ladies were the expectations set for women in the time To Kill A Mockingbird took place. Scout Finch lived in a household that had a strong male influence; aside from Calpurnia, she had no real present example of what she was supposed to become. Because of this, Scout refused to conform to the ways of the rest of the women in Maycomb and the world (Lee 84).
Women in Maycomb, and everywhere else for that matter, were viewed as dolls in every form of the word. Girls were supposed to wear ...view middle of the document...

Aunt Alexandra and her ideas are what stood out the most to me while reading To Kill A Mockingbird. She continually and publicly disapproved of Atticus’s parenting style, specifically with Scout. Scout’s behavior bothered Alexandra so much that she came to live with them, which made me wary of her character. Alexandra was raised a lady, and she valued the domestic roles expected of women. Her (and everyone elses) narrow-mindedness led her to believe that the only thing girls could and should do, was be a lady. “Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants.” At this point, I completely hated Alexandra’s character. Scout just wanted to be a kid and play with the boys. I understand Alexandra’s viewpoint, though; why she acted the way she did, and said the things she said. Her expectations of Scout, I felt, were a bit unrealistic for Scout’s age and circumstance. However, Scout was not the only girl to fall victim to these expectations; all women of this time were pressured to be something that they were not (Lee 85-86).
To Kill A Mockingbird took place in the 1930s, which was the time of the Great Depression. During this economically challenging time, men were usually the only ones in the family that worked, therefore they were named the “breadwinners.” Men have always been, and (unfortunately) still are, viewed as the superior gender. This idea grew even more with the struggles of the depression, because the survival of families depended on men. The women of the house were led to believe that their most important job was to take care of everything the men “couldn’t do” or “didn’t have time for.” Women’s responsibilities were to take care of the children, cook meals, clean the house, and be as perfect as they could be for their husbands. Women had to wear makeup, dresses, and watch their figure or else they were not considered a good wife to their husbands. Many women did not particularly enjoy these roles and responsibilities, but at the time, it was simply what they had to do to keep order. What Scout didn’t realize about this, was that it takes a strong woman to do all of these things.
Scout was just a kid and a ton of gender roles were being piled onto her at once. She was raised by her father and greatly influenced by her brother, so Aunt Alexandra of all people should have understood the reason for Scout’s stubbornness. Miss Maudie Atkinson, on the other hand, did understand Scout. Miss Maudie...

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