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To Kill A Mockingbird Research Paper

1360 words - 6 pages

The 1930’s were a time of drastic change for America. The Great Depression had just begun and many families were struggling financially. The roles of women and men went through a drastic change as well. The 1930’s gave women a chance to start breaking the mold and acting independent. Along with the freedoms the 1930’s gave women, some stereotypes and discrimination went along as well. A lot of the stereotypes that people associate Southern women with appeared in the 1930s. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee portrays Southern women as stereotypical Plantation Legends rather than the hard working, determined, independent women that they were.
The Great Depression lasted from October of ...view middle of the document...

The reality of single women in the 1930’s are not accurate in what Harper Lee portrays in To Kill a Mockingbird. The real single women of the 1930’s were neglected and invisible to the public (B). They were hard- working, fought to provide for their families and were neglected by government, media and the public(D). Miss Maudie and Scout’s character traits both show hints of the independent women that were around in the 1930’s, while Aunt Alexandra, Miss Stephanie Crawford, and Miss Rachel all fit the role of a “proper lady” that were prevalent in the 1800s. When the subject of Tom Robinson is brought up, Scout and Aunt Alexandra are obviously very taken aback by the news of his death. After Scout finds out about Tom Robinson, she thinks to herself “After all, If Aunty could act like a lady at a time like this, so could I”(Lee 318).
Throughout the novel, Scout is hesitant about acting like a lady-like and has grown up thinking that acting “like a girl” is bad. In the novel, Scout thinks to herself, “After I was not so sure, but Jem told me I was being a girl, that girls always imagined things, that's why other people hated them so, and if I started behaving like one I could just go off and find some to play with”(Lee 54). Scout has a fear of being hated and excluded from playing with Jem and Dill, so she will do anything to not be called a girl. Even at a young age, Jem and Dill are taught that to think that the stereotype of a woman is bad. They are used to Scout and her tomboy attitude and ways. In chapter six, Jem and Dill want to take a look at Boo Radley’s house, much to Scout’s displeasure. After Scout objects the idea, Jem states "Scout, I'm tellin' you for the last time, shut your trap or go home—I declare to the Lord you're gettin' more like a girl every day!”(Lee 69) Jem, Scout and Dill all perceive being called a “girl” is an insult. Scout will do anything to not be called a girl and to not be excluded, so she joins Jem and Dill.
Throughout To Kill a Mockingbird Scout is pressured by her Aunt Alexandra to act more “like a lady”. Aunt Alexandra is the most influential towards Scout about being a proper lady and also acting “like a Finch should act”. Aunt Alexandra believes Scout does not have a proper woman as a role model since Scout’s mother died. Aunt Alexandra was raised to carry on the values of a proper southern lady and she expects Scout to do the same. The women that Harper Lee portrays in To Kill a Mockingbird are proper ladies, but they are not appropriate for the time period that the novel is set in. In fact, women in the 1930’s were not “proper” at all. The proper lady etiquette that Aunt Alexandra is trying to teach Scout originated in the South...

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