Use Of Literature To Address Social Issues

1275 words - 5 pages

Throughout time, authors have used their literary works to reflect on the world in which they live in. Prevalent time periods that have cause for reaction include World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, racism and segregation in the deep South, September 11th terrorist attacks, and even natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Authors use literature as an effective medium in which they can voice their thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and apprehensions about their lives as affected by global events. They believe that by communicating a story or tale they will be able to understand and relate to the situation at hand.
Outstanding authors such as Harper Lee, Charles Dickens, and Arthur Miller demonstrate the reflection of anxieties about their own affairs as well as the world’s in their writing. In Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, she
Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is set during three years of the Great Depression, beginning in 1933 and ending in 1936, and the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. During this time, Harper Lee witnessed excessive, unnecessary racism. In the beginning of the novel, Atticus is appointed, by the court, to defend a black man named Tom Robinson. During a time where blacks were beneath whites in society, Atticus Finch taking the case signifies that he, and therefore Harper Lee, wish to fight racism. The novel successfully portrays Southern life in the 1930’s. It creates a model of tolerance and courage in the character of Atticus Finch. At various points in the novel, Atticus is branded a “nigger-lover” because he has agreed to help a member of a lower class, a class not accepted by society. Scout, who is oblivious to certain things, stands up for her father's honor by fighting, even though he has told her not to. As Lee was raised in the South, racism is a constant theme in the novel, which shows how Scout and Jem learn about fighting prejudice and upholding human dignity through their father’s example. Lee does this to show that there is no logical reason or explanation for the racism that she observed during her life.
Lee also intends to show that African Americans are people just like any other American. After meeting Boo Radley, Scout says, “’When they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things…Atticus he was real nice…’ His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. ‘Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them’” (Lee 281). Lee writes this to symbolize the common adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. It is clear that Lee understands that all humans are created equally, regardless of the color of their skin.
To Kill A Mockingbird shows the deep racism that existed in the South in the 1930’s, a period of a flurry of new social legislation known as the New Deal for Americans (not including African Americans) and the beginning of anti-Semitism in Europe. Lee illustrates a disheartening representation of a narrow-minded world, a world filled with hatred,...

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