This sample paper on To Kill A Mocking Bird Setting offers a framework of relevant facts based on the recent research in the field. Read the introductory part, body and conclusion of the paper below.
Good morning/afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I am head of classic literature at the local University and I have come here today to talk about the way in which the well-known novel To Kill a Mockingbird makes comment on society. “Prejudice – a vagrant opinion without visible means of support.
” (Ambrose Bierce) Prejudice has been shaping our world for decades and has the ability to influence preconceived judgment and actions towards others.
Famous author, Harper Lee has recognised and demonstrated how racial and social prejudice has played an important role in our society through her world renowned novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Within this novel she has successfully conveyed a message or better known as social commentary, to her audience that judging others on nothing but stereotypes is wrong.
To do this, Lee has set her novel on society in the 1930s where strong racial prejudice was extremely common as the social norm and often not unfrowned upon at that point in history.
By utilising specific narrative elements such as settings and symbolism throughout the novel, Lee has successfully made social comment on racial and social prejudice and how wrong and unfair it is. To Kill a Mockingbird was written by Harper Lee in mid-1950, during a period called the Civil Rights Movement. Even though the book was published in 1960, it was set in the 1930s and was strongly based around the Scottsboro Trial where nine African American men were accused of raping a young white woman as well as an underage woman.
After a number of historic trials which were based on the lone testimony of one of the women, all of the African American men were found guilty and one of the men was sentenced to death convicted by a white jury. Harper Lee was born in April 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama, the same state as the trial and knew of the conditions surrounding it. Growing up she was known as a Tomboy and called writer, Truman Capote her friend. She has studied law at the University of Alabama through 1945 to 1949 before she published her only novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
This novel was in fact based on her own town of Monroeville though she has created the book’s town named Maycomb. It was placed in the Deep South of the United States where slavery, zero equality and racial segregation was very present. Using her own experiences and knowledge of the strong racial prejudices around her, Lee has successfully provided her audience with a deep understanding of said prejudices and social justice therefore using it as a tool to create a clear comment on society and the wrongness that is racial prejudice. The setting of a book is the time and place in which it is written.
Physical setting as well as the social and emotional settings tends to play a large role in a books entirety and even the message the writer is trying to convey to their audience. The physical setting is usually revealed in the introduction chapters of a book whereas the social and emotional settings can be known from the dialogue and action throughout the book. To Kill a Mockingbird was set in the small fictional Southern town of Maycomb in the 1930s where slavery and the Civil War of the 1860s still has a drastic effect on the town and it appears that change is only seen in the distant future.
Clearly happy to stay in its own little world, Maycomb doesn’t know or seems to care about what’s happening elsewhere. “A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. ” (1. 6) There is no breaking the past with the town. When the same families have lived there for multiple generations, passing down the same family traits they have seen in the past there really isn’t much room for independent thought so the way things are in Maycomb are the way things will always been for them.
The problem though is the way things have always been is racially segregated. The African Americans of Maycomb have their own settlement on the outskirts of town, their own church and cemetery outside of the city, even at Tom’s trial the African Americans sit separated from the whites; African Americans having seats up in the balcony whilst whites have the decent seats on the floor. Essentially the whites and blacks in Maycomb don’t live together, eat together, pray together, or even die together.
Upon realising this, Lee’s audience will understand the emphasis put on racial prejudice, gives them a chance to set their own opinions and understand the wrongs that were happening at the time. Throughout To Kill a Mocking Bird, Harper Lee has used clever symbolism and original writing style to create a better understanding on her social comment about racial prejudice during her time. A writer’s style is basically their own unique way of writing.
From the use of dialogue, language or tone, to symbolism, structure and point of view, each writer has their own style that accommodates what and how they plan to open a readers mind to what they have to write about. Lee’s writing style includes using a first person point of view as the young narrating character Scout Finch. From the very start of this novel it is obvious that that she is telling us of these events as a memory from her childhood perspective therefore as she understood the events at the time rather than using an adult sort of commentary.
The perspective gives the readers a feeling of naivety as we tend to receive events as she just experiences them without telling us what they mean exactly. You could also say that, for some commentary that we got, was totally innocent. Though, when needed, there was an adult perspective in the background: “Mr Underwood didn’t talk about miscarriages of justice, he was writing so children could understand. Mr Underwood simply figured it was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting, or escaping. ” (25. 65) A young Scout wouldn’t understand what a miscarriage of justice was, so this is the adult telling us that this is what actually happened, whereas a child’s perspective would translate to something along the lines of ‘what happened was a sin’. Lee’s unique style of writing is what makes this book so powerful to readers from teenagers to adults. It makes it clear to all what comment she’s trying to make on society and how racial prejudice has shaped the world around us. Symbolism is the way in which writers have used their words to express idea through imagery.
Common ways to create some sort of symbolism in a novel are metaphors, similes, references and allusions. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee has used symbolism to teach her readers about stereotypes, racial prejudice and moral sin. Pointing out what others seem to be baffled about is the title of the book. It seems as though, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think the novel itself was written about something entirely different, but in this case the Mockingbirds are used as an allegory (or symbol) for innocence.
Other than title, we first hear about the mockingbirds when Scout and her brother Jem are learning how to use their new air rifles where their father, Atticus, tells them to shoot all the blue jays they want but not to shoot a mockingbird because it’s a sin. Scout had never heard her father tell them it was a sin to do something so she asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.
That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. ”” (10. 99/100) She’s essentially saying that mockingbirds are innocent and harmless creature that won’t hurt anyone so therefore killing them is wrong. The same can be said about Tom’s innocence of the crime he’s accused of as he does no harm to anyone. Killing him would not prevent any bad nor will it bring any good, just like shooting a mockingbird. Lee’s use of symbolism like this gets the audience thinking about the point she’s trying to bring across and again she has made clear social comment on the injustice of prejudice against those who are different.
To Kill a Mockingbird is successful in conveying the message that racial and social prejudice is wrong. Harper Lee has utilised the narrative elements of setting in the small Southern town of Maycomb, symbolism within the title itself as well as her unique writing style to achieve social comment. To Kill a Mockingbird is a fantastic book that is capable of changing a reader’s perspective on the world around them and gives us a chance to open our eyes at how much has changed for the better and how far we have to go.