Professor Date Consider how one (or many) of the characters in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird are constructing their identity. Analyze how their identity (or identities) are constructed using a school of literary criticism. To Kill a Mockingbird is a masterpiece of American fiction…
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It could be studied with equal felicity under the feminist, psychoanalytic or formalistic critical frameworks. To this extent, the novel can be said to be ‘polysemic’. Polysemy is the state of having more than one meaning. Though first coined to describe a linguistic phenomenon, the term has now gained a broader meaning so that it is also applied in discussing authorial intent in literary works. Also implied in the term ‘polysemy’ is the notion that perceptions vary depending on the particular identity of the reader, and “that words are multi-ordinal; these characteristics can lead to or permit conscious or unconscious confusion. The existence of diverging perceptions and language are explained through general semantics. Two significant ideas of general semantics are non-identity and infinity of values. Each of these ideas is manifest in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.” (Kasper, 2006, p.273) With the help of insights offered by Marxist school of literary criticism, this essay will argue that social class is a major divisive factor in the novel. A central theme of the novel is its characters’ tendency to strongly identify with their race. Just as race separates, the human will is shown to overcome this difference. The decision by Atticus Finch to defend the black Tom Robinson is the most luminous example. Atticus’ defense of the innocent Robinson proves a daunting task. Despite convincing evidence to acquit Robinson from his guilt, the exclusively white jury convicts him all the same. Even the prison officials concoct a fake encounter and shoot Robinson while he was allegedly trying to escape. What is so shocking is that even within the confines of institutions of law and law enforcement, racial identity plays a dominant and destructive role. Clearly, racial prejudice overwhelms notions of fairness and justice espoused by law. (Singley, 2002, p.47) Applying Marxist critical thought to the novel we see how race is strongly correlated with class. This means that all the blacks in the novel are inevitably also poor. This relationship between race and class makes the study of Atticus Finch all that more interesting and important. Atticus Finch is an exception to the typical characterization of white men – those seen in the novel as well as they actually existed in early twentieth century America. It order to deconstruct the formative ingredients behind Atticus Finch’s identity, we have to consider his upbringing, his influences, etc. From the references available in the text, we learn that Atticus Finch was a pious man. He is someone who looked up to the words of the scriptures in both letter and spirit. He brings the same attitude and mindset to his work as a lawyer. For Atticus, the spirit is more important than the literal interpretations of law – a concept he assimilated from his personal realizations of God. The manner in which Atticus brings up his own children is another indication of how his character is constructed. It is fair to assume that cherished values and virtues are inculcated by parents in their children. Just as Atticus’ children Scout and Jem are raised without prejudice or hatred, he in turn must have been raised the same way. So, it is fair to claim that Atticus’ identity development falls outside Marxist literary critique, for there is no trace of identity with class that is central to Marxism. On the other hand, religion and culture play
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The story is about racial prejudice and it centers on Atticus, a white lawyer who decides to defend a black man. The story is told by Scout, then a young girl, who experiences a variety of issues in her town. This creates the foundation for the full story.
The story revolves around a family of single father and his two children, along with a hidden neighbor. The narrator of the story is the daughter of the house, and the father is the actual hero being a lawyer who defends a Black American wrongly blamed for the rape of a White American woman.
According to the researcher, racial prejudice stands to be the most obvious prejudice in the novel which pushes the otherwise well intentioned folks of Maycomb to victimize an upright black individual owing to the acquisitions made by a worthless white drunkard. The other pivotal theme is that it tends to delve on the moral nature of human beings.
The novel is narrated by Scout who lives with her elder brother Jem and her well-respected lawyer father, Atticus Finch. Scout and Jem are portrayed as normal fun-loving children but are shown to be gifted with a rare maturity of thought and a depth of perception and insight that even grown-ups do not possess.
These two social issues are the specific concepts the film embraces because racial discrimination is evident in the conviction of the innocent black man while the prejudice of individuals who are deemed to be different by social standards is represented in the film with the society’s treatment of the character Boo Radley.
otes.com /lit/mocking/facts.html), it has proven its value by “winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and selling over fifteen million copies” and became an Academy Award–winning film that starred Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch
The asset of the story is its humor element. It reads well and smooth. The author intelligently brings out the racial issue without provocation by detailing the consequences faced by a black man wrongly accused of a crime against a white woman in South America. To Kill a Mockingbird is not, as earlier readers claimed, a persuasive plea for racial justice, nor is its hero a model of moral courage.
According to the author, being human and to feel humanity is the most important thing on earth. For this reason Atticus Finch, told his children that killing a mockingbird is a sin. It was done as to develop a theme in the novel. Tom Robinson is a mockingbird in the novel as he tried to help Mayella Ewell.
The author states that there are many things and events that impacted Jem from the beginning of the sentence till the actual event. It was the span of three years, for which the story is actually written, is the transitional period for Jem. It is the time for any boy to undergo a transitional phase from the age of 10 to 13.
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