“Society During The Great Depression With Reference To The Movie To Kill A Mockingbird

2740 words - 11 pages

8Society during The Great Depression with reference to the movie To Kill a Mockingbird.The Great Depression in America began in 1929 with the stock market crash and the effects were very much prominent during the 1930s. It was a time which affected both the poor and the rich. During the next three years after October 1929, stock prices in the United States continued to fall. This strained banks and other financial institutions and by 1933, 11,000 of the United States' 25,000 banks had failed. Due to the crash, consumer spending and investment dropped causing steep decline in industrial output and rising levels of unemployment as the workers were sacked. The Dust Bowl damaged the crops and thus it became difficult for the farmer to survive. Unable to find a job locally, millions of them moved around the country to earn a living. Jobs were few and the applicants were in multiples. The ones, who did manage to get a job, had no choice but work in exploitative set-up where the wages were poor and the living conditions were miserable. Thus, an average American had no money left. He was forced to take credit and in turn fell into debts. Also, when unable to pay the sum back, the banks ceased their lands making them homeless as well. This went on to 1939 only after the World War 2 started.A lot of incredible art work draws from this economic breakdown. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one such master piece. It has been adapted to a movie with the same name as well. The movie is the primary source for this paper. The story recounts the childhood experiences of six-year-old "Scout" Finch during the Great Depression where her father Atticus Finch is a lawyer fighting through The Depression in a racially crippled fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. He defends a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. It is through this trial that Scout and her brother witness the horrors of racism. Scout becomes aware of the hypocrisy and prejudice that exist in the adult world when she sees the reaction of town when her father decides to defend a 'Nigger'. The other essential lessons the kids learn are compassion, courage, prejudice etc. I intend to dwell deeply on these issues and many others in this paper. Teresa Godwin Phelps calls it a tender family narrative in her essay, "The Margins of Maycomb: A Rereading of To Kill a Mocking Bird."The story is set up in a fictional town of Maycomb which is a part of Southern America. The geographic detail is important as the southern part was mostly adversely affected due to the Great Depression. Rural, southern towns in the United States were hit hard because they were largely reliant on agriculture. In the movie, Cunninghams belong to peasant class. As Atticus says, 'The Cunninghams are country folks, farmers, and the crash hit them hardest'. He has no money to pay a lawyer but pay instead with produce like hickory nuts and turnip greens. The story begins with a town in a passive mode because the pockets of its...

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