Significance of the Study
This book, To Kill a Mocking Bird, not only does it entertain us but it gives us a brief understanding about the issues in our society such as racial and social discrimination. Through this book, we will be able to relate ourselves with the characters and open our eyes on the happenings of our society. This book will also give young readers understanding of the importance of equality and human rights.
Statement of the Problem
Specifically, the study will seek answers to the following problems:
- What were the different symbolisms presented in the novel? What is the relationship of each symbolism to the current issues faced by the people?
- What is the parenting style Atticus Finch? What relationship does he have with his children? How does he try to inspire conscience in them?
- Do the characters of Calpurnia and Tom Robinson represent a realistic black society?
Scope and Limitation of the Study
This paper shows how Lee Harper’s novel To Kill A Mocking Bird can be read as an innovative inversion of two interrelated narrative traditions, that of coming-of-age story, and Gothic, a sub-genre which developed in the late colonial fiction of the early twentieth century. Lee’s trademark ironic twist appears here as a cheap device that diminishes the complexity of what she has tried to build before.
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From a seemingly simple scenario of children adventures, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking evolves into an exploration of racism, responsibility, love, and courage. In their efforts to discover the truth about inequality and discrimination in their town, the central narrator learns to act in a more adult way, even a more ladylike way, and to see the people around her as actual human beings as the opening lines figures prominently in the novel: “kill all the blue jays you like but remember it’s a sin to kill a mocking bird.” I chose this book, To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, because I find it interesting to read. When I first saw it, I felt that it was something worth reading. It was worthy time. I am not really into reading books, but this made me change my perspective.
Definition of Terms
Akimbo-body position — hands on hips, elbows bent outward
Apoplectic-on the verge of having a stroke
Arbor-an outdoor area shaded by trees
Asafetida-strong smelling substance made from parsley that is often used in folk medicine
Bantam cock– a small agressive rooster
Calomel-a laxative often used to rid a person of intestinal worms
catawba worms-caterpillars; highly prized as fishbait in the American South
changelings-a child secretly put in the place of another
chiffarobe-a large cabinet with drawers and a place for hanging clothes
collards-cabbage with very coarse, thick leaves
cootie-slang term for a head louse
dog-trot hall-a covered passageway between two parts of a building
eddy-a whirlpool or current of water that moves against the current
edification-instruction or education
fey-strange or eccentric
guile-craftiness and cunning
haint-ghost or spook
hookah-a tobacco pipe of Eastern origin that draws smoke through a bowl of water
Jew’s Harp-small musical instrument played by plucking a piece of metal while holding the instrument to one’s mouth.
Kudzu-a large leafed quick-growing vine of the South
morphodite (hermaphrodite)-Scout hears Miss Maudie call her and Jem’s snowman a “morphodite”. Miss Maudie most likely said “hermaphrodite”, which is an animal or plant with both male and female reproductive organs.
Obstreperous-noisy and unruly
Palliate-to lessen pain
roly-poly-a small bug that can turn itself into a ball. Also known as a pillbug
rotogravure print-a kind of photograph
ruttin’ -slang for having sexual intercourse
scrip stamps-paper money of small denominations issued by government agencies for temporary emergency use; particularly common during the Great Depression
scuppernongs-sweet grapes grown in the American South
shinny-slang term for whiskey
smockin’-decorative stitching that gathers fabric
widow’s walk-a platform with a rail around it built on the roof of a house, named for women who would stand on it and wait in vain for their husbands’ ships to return to port
Review of Related Studies
To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, which gives an outlook of life through an innocent young girl’s eyes. The novel portrays and focused two main themes which are discrimination and racism.
Racism is perhaps the main theme of the novel. It comes in as a subtle and open style that is being shown through actions and speeches. Racism in Maycomb takes mostly the form of having black people being discriminated by white people. A number of people in Maycomb are racist because they perceive Negroes as a disgraced race and are typically undependable and deceitful. The actions and speeches are most likely the most familiar forms of racism though the layout of Maycomb is of racial discrimination too.
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Racial discrimination happens also in our society today. Discrimination refersto a system of differential treatment and opportunities that can act on multiple levels to unfairly disadvantage groups of people because they hold certain characteristics (e.g., race, sex, religion, drug use, prior incarceration) that are negatively construed (Jary&Jary, 1995; Jones, 2000, 2003).The impact of discrimination on other marginalized and stigmatized groups such as substance users is beginning to receive closer attention. Although investigations of discrimination and its relation to mental health among drug users is sparse, there is evidence of an independent association between racially and non–racially based discrimination and higher prevalence of depression and lower mental health scores among substance users (Ahern, Stuber, &Galea, 2007; Stuber et
Prejudice is also depicted in various forms in the novel. A number of characters in the novel suffer from prejudice and discrimination due to age, social status, sex and gender.Racism seems to be as normal to the people in the story as breathing. At the beginning of the novel, Scout, Jem and Dill choose to take a glimpse into the window of the Boo Radley. They made noises which alert, Boo’s older brother, Nathan Radley who fires his gun to scare them off which awakens the people. When the crowd gathers into where the event happened, they immediately thought that a black was the prowler. When they ask if the intruder had been shot, Miss Stephanie gives the following reply. “Shot in the air. Scared him pale, though.Says if anybody sees a white nigger around, that’s the one.” (Lee 54). Racial insults are normal and have always been included in the natural conversation among the people in Maycomb. IT is enunciated as casually as if she were talking about the weather. Current readers may be surprised, perhaps shocked by this unconcealed racism, but Leeclearly illustrates how acceptable this behavior in the society was back in the 1930s.
According to Turneyet. al (2014), The impact of discrimination on other marginalized and stigmatized groups such as substance users is beginning to receive closer attention. Although investigations of discrimination and its relation to mental health among drug users is sparse, there is evidence of an independent association between racially and non–racially based discrimination and higher prevalence of depression and lower mental health scores among substance users (Ahern, Stuber, &Galea, 2007; Stuber et al., 2008). There can be a possibility that discrimination may manifest inversely within diverse types of social atmospheres. For example, neighborhood characteristics have been shown to be independently associated with levels of depression (Beard et al., 2009; Cutrona, Wallace, &Wesner, 2006; Galea et al., 2007) and reports of racial discrimination (Dailey, Kasl, Holford, Lewis, & Jones, 2010).
The inequality of racism becomes deceptive when Tom Robinson, a black man is accused of raping MayellaEwell, a white woman. Even with the absence of evidence, the town and jury is averse to take the statement of a black man over the accusers, MayellaEwell and Bob Ewell.
In the event where Scout is verbally attacked because her father’s decision in taking the caseof Tom Robinson, she becomes furious, resulting to physical violence directed to others. Probably this is the start of her realization of how infuriating it must be to be prejudiced and judged for something you cannot control. Scout could not command anymore who her father defended than somebody who could decide on their race. Then, Scout recognizes the feeling of being judged as she suffers scoffs and taunts.
Discrimination has a direct effect on the behavior of the individual as seen in the actions of Scout from the taunts and mocks of her classmates. Not only it affect the behavior of an individual but as well as to the mental and physical health of a person.
Several factors have been employed to explain the disparities that exist concerning the health of Black men, including racial discrimination, income inequalities, lack of insurance, poor health behaviors, difficulty in obtaining care, and mistrust of health care providers (Dressler, Oths, &Gravlee, 2005; Rich, 2000; Williams, 2003).
Experiences of discrimination have been associated with a number of negative psychological outcomes, including depression (Karlsen&Nazroo,2002; Williams, Takeuchi, & Adair, 1992), psychological distress (Gee, 2002; Jacksonet al., 1996; Sellers, 2001), and decreased self-esteem (Diaz, Ayala, Bein, Henne, &Marin, 2001; Verkuyten, 1998).
Discrimination is a major theme in the novel and according the study conducted by Angobung (2011), he claimed that according to St. Thomas discrimination is a violation of the common good. A particular act of injustice that is deliberate thought, word, deed, desire, and omission clearly manifests an act that is contrary to right reason. Unfortunately, discrimination in the society is normally unconsciously accepted in the society. Pearson et. al. (2009), arguethat current racial attitudes of Whites toward Blacks in the United States are fundamentally ambivalent, characterizedby a widespread contemporary form of racial prejudice, aversive racism, that is manifested in subtle and indirect ways, and illustrate its operation across a wide range of settings, from employment and legal decisions, to group problem-solving and everyday helping behavior.
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