Harper Lee's Disapproval with Rules of Hierarchy in To Kill a Mockingbird

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To Kill a Mockingbird is a bildungsroman novel written by Harper Lee. One of the central themes of the book is the unspoken rules that govern the hierarchy in Maycomb society. One of the most important rules that govern the hierarchy in Maycomb is race. In the novel, black people in Maycomb are considered lower than white people in the hierarchy no matter what. Harper Lee reveals her disapproval of this rule through the scenes in the book where Scout and Jem meet Mr. Dolphus Raymond, the court scene where Dill starts to cry because of the unfairness, and Atticus standing up for Calpurnia when Aunt Alexandra tries to send her away.

Throughout the book, Harper Lee reveals her disapproval of the racism in Maycomb through the characters in the novel. When Scout first meets Mr. Dolphus Raymond, she calls him “an evil man” and thinks he is “taking delight in corrupting a child” (Lee 267). She thinks she “shouldn’t be [there] listening to [a] sinful man who had mixed children and didn’t care who knew it” (Lee 268). But Scout’s thoughts soon change when she finds out he doesn’t actually drink and she starts to think that he is “fascinating”(Lee 268), she even mentions that she “liked his smell”(Lee 267). By making the main character change her mind about someone who is shunned by society, Harper Lee is showing that she disapproves of how Maycomb views Mr. Dolphus Raymond. Showing that Scout likes Mr. Raymond, Lee reveals that she doesn’t agree with the rule by showing how Scout likes Mr. Raymond even if he has a black family.

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Tom Robinson’s trial is one of the most important scenes in the book as it is where the plot starts to escalate. In this scene, Harper Lee once again reveals her opinions about the racism and hierarchy in the town of Maycomb. In the scene, Tom Robinson is being questioned by Mr. Gilmer, who is being disrespectful, calling him “boy” and talking to him hatefully just

To Kill a Mockingbird is a bildungsroman novel written by Harper Lee. One of the central themes of the book is the unspoken rules that govern the hierarchy in Maycomb society. One of the most important rules that govern the hierarchy in Maycomb is race. In the novel, black people in Maycomb are considered lower than white people in the hierarchy no matter what. Harper Lee reveals her disapproval of this rule through the scenes in the book where Scout and Jem meet Mr. Dolphus Raymond, the court scene where Dill starts to cry because of the unfairness, and Atticus standing up for Calpurnia when Aunt Alexandra tries to send her away.

Throughout the book, Harper Lee reveals her disapproval of the racism in Maycomb through the characters in the novel. When Scout first meets Mr. Dolphus Raymond, she calls him “an evil man” and thinks he is “taking delight in corrupting a child” (Lee 267). She thinks she “shouldn’t be [there] listening to [a] sinful man who had mixed children and didn’t care who knew it” (Lee 268). But Scout’s thoughts soon change when she finds out he doesn’t actually drink and she starts to think that he is “fascinating”(Lee 268), she even mentions that she “liked his smell”(Lee 267). By making the main character change her mind about someone who is shunned by society, Harper Lee is showing that she disapproves of how Maycomb views Mr. Dolphus Raymond. Showing that Scout likes Mr. Raymond, Lee reveals that she doesn’t agree with the rule by showing how Scout likes Mr. Raymond even if he has a black family.

Tom Robinson’s trial is one of the most important scenes in the book as it is where the plot starts to escalate. In this scene, Harper Lee once again reveals her opinions about the racism and hierarchy in the town of Maycomb. In the scene, Tom Robinson is being questioned by Mr. Gilmer, who is being disrespectful, calling him “boy” and talking to him hatefully just because he is a black person. In this scene, Scout and Dill miss part of the case because Dill begins to cry. Harper Lee shows her disapproval of how Tom Robinson and other black people are treated through Dill. Dill says to Scout that he couldn’t stand “Mr.Gilmer [doing] him that way and talking so [hatefully to him] (Lee 265)”. By showing that Dill, Scout’s friend, was upset with how Mr. Gilmer was treating Tom Robinson, Lee reveals that she too disapproves of how black people are treated because of their race.

In the novel, Scout and Jem’s aunt, Aunt Alexandra comes to live with them. Aunt Alexandra makes it clear that she disapproves of Calpurnia. When Scout asks if “[she] could [go] to [Calpurnia’s] house (Lee 181)”, Aunt Alexandra makes it very clear that she doesn’t approve of Scout going there. She later tries to convince Atticus to make Calpurnia leave. Atticus simply responds that “[Calpurnia] is a faithful member of the family”. Through this, Harper Lee shows that he doesn’t consider her any lower than his family even if she is a black person. Harper Lee shows in the novel that Scout does not like Aunt Alexandra very much. Scout tells Atticus that she “would like it very much” if Aunt Alexandra stayed with them but later says “[that] was a lie”. The tone in which Scout describes Aunt Alexandra is very negative. By showing how Scout dislikes Aunt Alexandra, Lee portrays her as an “evil” character in the novel. By doing this, Lee shows her disapproval of how Aunt Alexandra thinks and her approval of Atticus.

There are many rules that govern the hierarchy and society in Maycomb. One of the major rules that govern the hierarchy is race. In Maycomb, a black person is always considered lower than a white person no matter what. Having a family with a black person is also unaccepted and will drop you to the bottom of the hierarchy in Maycomb. Throughout the novel, Harper Lee shows her disapproval of the hierarchy and this rule through the characters. She shows how she approves of Mr.Raymond by showing that Scout likes him even if he has a black wife and mixed children. She also shows her disapproval through Dill, who doesn’t like the way that Tom Robinson is treated just because he is a black person. And lastly, she shows how she disagrees with Aunt Alexandra through Scout. She also shows how she thinks black people should be treated through Atticus. Throughout the book, Lee shows that she disagrees with how race affects people’s place in the hierarchy in the society of Maycomb.

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Harper Lee’s Disapproval with Rules of Hierarchy in To Kill a Mockingbird. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/harper-lees-disapproval-with-rules-of-hierarchy-in-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
“Harper Lee’s Disapproval with Rules of Hierarchy in To Kill a Mockingbird.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/harper-lees-disapproval-with-rules-of-hierarchy-in-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
Harper Lee’s Disapproval with Rules of Hierarchy in To Kill a Mockingbird. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/harper-lees-disapproval-with-rules-of-hierarchy-in-to-kill-a-mockingbird/> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
Harper Lee’s Disapproval with Rules of Hierarchy in To Kill a Mockingbird [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/harper-lees-disapproval-with-rules-of-hierarchy-in-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
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