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To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee Analysis

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To some extent, the characters in both stories seem to be ruled by fixed ideas, prejudices and limited social values and attitudes. Explain and compare how each writer deals with this aspect. You might like to consider social context and values, time, plot, style and language, as well as the characters themselves. TKAMB and An Imaginative Woman are stories whose plot revolves around the idea of prejudices, social status and the attitudes of the era in which they are based.

Both texts deal with these issues but in slightly different ways, because An Imaginative Woman is a short story, there isn't enough space to cover prejudices of all the characters in detail but because TKAMB is a novel, over the story although maybe not directly, the characters, personalities and viewpoints are developed until you can form an fairly solid idea of what they believed in and what they were like.

For example, TKAMB is set in the 1920's and 30's at which time the prejudice of whites against blacks was very apparent even though slavery had been abolished years before the blacks we're treated as second class citizens. This is a main factor of the plot and as Scout (Jean Louise Finch) is growing up it started to become apparent to her at an early age when she, Jem and Calpurnia visited Calpurnia's church 'Lula stopped but she said "You ain't got no business bringin' white chillun here - they got their own church, we got our'n"'

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Then later in the story of the trial of Tom Robinson Vs Mr. Ewell '"Lemme tell you somethin' now, Billy" a third said, "You know the court appointed him to defend this nigger. "', '"Yeah, but Atticus aims to defend him. That's what I don't like about it"' Also the use of the offensive term nigger (deriving from Spanish word negro meaning black), which today is politically incorrect, is a sign of the prejudice and social split between blacks and whites at that time.

Atticus is an exception to this prejudice as are his children as Aunt Alexandra puts it: - "I mean this town. They're perfectly prepared to let him do what they are too afraid to do themselves. " In reference to Atticus defending Tom Robinson, a black person. In An Imaginative Woman there isn't such prejudices as between blacks and whites but seeing as it is set in the 1800's there is an element of prejudices as between males and females: - "... She had never antecedently regarded this occupation of his as any objection to having him for a husband.

Indeed, the necessity of getting life-leased at all cost, a cardinal virtue which all good mothers teach" This means, she does not see her husbands job as a reason not to marrying him, after all she needs someone to bring in some money, the idea that women themselves cannot do so because they are not allowed to work. This explains why Ella Marchmill is at home most of the time and has the time to write all the poetry. The fact that she had to pretend to be a man is also a sign of prejudice against women at that time as perhaps because nobody would believe such poetry could come from a woman's hand.

In TKAMB Harper Lee deals with social etiquette and ideals and makes them very apparent and openly deals with them as it is the main theme of the plot, in An Imaginative Woman Thomas Hardy does not openly express the social ideas as prejudice, even thought this may be because they were openly and socially acceptable at the time and unlike TKAMB, An Imaginative Woman is not set in a time of change, such as black rights movements and female liberation movements where people became widely familiar with, and accepted prejudice was happening.

In TKAMB many people who are examples of different castes in society, Aunt Alexandra being one of them "... Aunt Alexandra was one of the last of her kind; she had a river boat, boarding school manners; let any moral come along and she would uphold it.... " Aunt Alexandra is fixed into society by morals and personal standards that she considers to be very high and this makes herself seem to be upper class society, but she will still gossip She was and incurable gossip" and will still dabble in what would seem to be a lower class of society.

You also have examples of people who in contrast are of a lower caste of society for example, the Cunninghams who appear to have no money because they are farmers and when the economic crash happened in America it hit them the hardest "The Cunningham's never took anything off of anybody, they get along on what they have, they don't have much but they get along on it. "

When Jem tries to describe the caste system of Maycomb towards the end of the book the social attitudes of the time are very apparent "There's four kinds of folk in the world. There's the ordinary folks like us and the neighbors, there's the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells down at the dump, and the Negroes" This puts richer white people above poor white people, above white trash and finally above black people. In An Imaginative Woman the idea of social caste is perhaps not so apparent.

The main theme of the text is the ideas of marriage, as it was in the 1800's divorce was unthinkable otherwise Ella would have left her husband "She came to some vague conclusions, and since then had kept her heart alive by pitying her proprietor's obtuseness and want of refinement" Also affairs in marriage was not common place and illegitimate children were prejudiced against, it was a widely conceived thought that if a child was not born to a married couple they were rejects and should be treated thusly.

At the end of the book Will Marchmill's imagination leads him to believe that he and Ella's youngest son was actually the son of Robert Trewe's despite the fact that they never met, his final line and the final line in the book sums up the ideas of the time about illegitimate children "Get away, you poor little brat! You are nothing to me! " The idea that you are rejected from society regardless of class of family if you are illegitimate is perhaps the main issue to do with social class in the text, linking although not completely with the idea of class in TKAMB.

I have dealt with some ideas of prejudice and class, prejudice against blacks and women, the social status of people in Maycomb and of the Marchmills and other families like them in the 1800's. I have identified that the authors deal with it in different ways, Harper Lee is more direct and to the point with describing racism and social etiquette whereas Thomas Hardy suggests it but does not openly say that such things are wrong.

The reason for this could be because TKAMB is written from the first person viewpoint and individual beliefs and reasons feature much more in the story line, An Imaginative Woman is written from the third person viewpoint and is as such an account rather than a personal experience, you are distanced from the plot and personal beliefs are left for you to decide. The stories differ again, TKAMB is a novel and therefore has more room to describe and show the ideas of the time, whereas An Imaginative Woman is a short story and does not develop as much.

The language differs as TKAMB is set in 1920's/30's America and the "Deep Southern" American colloquial style of speech the text is perhaps more easily interpreted as it is not complex language, the terms used are more up to date and understood today. An Imaginative Woman is written in early modern English and some of the terms are very outdated and hard to comprehend without further help from dictionaries or thesauruses this makes it harder to pick points from it and to see the prejudice or social attitudes.

I have explained about the social attitudes and how they govern people within the stories and I think that this is very important to both stories plots, it helps shape the people and gives you a good idea of what life was like at the time, both stories end tragically in someway or another and I believe this is a deliberate move by both authors to suggest that prejudice and ism's (sexism, racism etc) are in the end tragic.

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