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To Kill a Mockingbird - the Characters in the Novel

  • Date Submitted: 08/18/2011 02:51 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 66.7 
  • Words: 1311
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1. Many of the characters in the novel hold stereotypes about how individuals will behave as a result of their age, gender, race social status and other fixed categories. Which characters are the victims of stereotyping and by whom? Do any characters break through the behaviour expected of them, showing individuality and exposing the falseness of labelling people?

Many characters in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird hold stereotypes, the very first having the biggest influence on Scout; Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley. Arthur always stayed in his house; he never did anything to make anyone suspicious and he created no problems in the neighbourhood. However, all the children still managed to create rumours about Arthur, for example on page 12 it says “According to Miss Stephanie, Boo was sitting in the living room cutting some items from the Maycomb Tribune to paste in his scrapbook. His father entered the room. As Mr Radley passed by, Boo drove the scissors into his parent’s leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities.”

While there may well be some truth in this, this incident probably never happened and yet the children of Maycomb, the innocent discriminators that would have kept Arthur inside, created more and more of these ridiculous lies. They built on his mysteriousness and transformed him into a lunatic. However, at the end of novel, Arthur saves Jem and Scout, while revealing himself to Scout as an innocent victim of stereotypes and stories.

Another innocent character was Tom Robinson, he was accused of assault and was found guilty, merely because the court took preference of a white man over a black man. He had not hurt the defendant in anyway, and Atticus provided a foolproof case, but as Tom was black he had not one chance in winning the case. On page 220, Scout frames the court session in one sentence, “Well, Dill, after all he’s just a negro”.

He never broke free of his stereotype, after going to jail, he tried to escape and...

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