Gender Issues In To Kill A Mockingbird

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Authors use novels to highlight issues in society that are current in the time period that are universally applicable. Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird during a time of segregation in the 1960’s. The setting of a small southern town in the 1930s when the depression was hitting them hardest and African Americans were still segregated opened the eyes of the people in the south during the 1960’s and beyond. The story follows a tomboy named Scout trying to find herself during a time when her father is defending a black man in court. Her father is a constant source of wisdom and grounds the family when they are faced with judgement from the people of the town. Today the same moral issues that were sources of conflict in the novel seem to …show more content…
Scout is a tomboy that is very untraditional. Her Aunt Alexandra is a traditional women that believes women should follow strict standards such as staying home to do the housekeeping and watching the children, wear dresses, and show proper manners. Scout does not believe in these standards and constantly goes against them. With her mother dead, Aunt Alexandra tells Scout that: “‘We decided that it would be best for you to have some feminine influence. It won’t be many years, Jean Louise, before you become interested in clothes and boys-’” (Lee 170). Aunt Alexandra begins to stereotype Scout’s interests and believes that in order to be a successful woman, she will need to act and dress like she believes Scout should. Gender roles like these were especially used in the south during the early 1930s. Scout often questions and goes against those beliefs and follows her own ideas. When the whole family is over for their Grandmother's Christmas dinner, Francis, Aunt Alexandra’s grandson, is inspired by the cooking and wants to learn how to do it. But Scout argues immediately that, “‘Boys don’t cook.’ I giggled at the thought of Jem in an apron” (Lee 109). In that time period being a woman meant that you must stay home, take care of the children, cook, and clean. But being a man meant that you provide the money to get food on the table. This mindset was taught at a young age and became their lifestyle. When those stereotypes were broken, many people would find that it was brushed off as a joke and if they followed through with it, they would find criticism and be depicted as if they need a feminine or masculine influence in their lives. The same stereotypes exist in today’s world, as it did in To Kill a Mockingbird. Today, it is seen that when girls are breaking gender roles, there is pride found in that. But, when boys slightly break gender roles, there is

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