To Kill A Mockingbird Gender Roles

1044 Words 5 Pages
History has constantly witnessed a world consisting of distinctive gender roles, with men seen as dominant more often than not. Yet, there has been a push for change, with women seeking more equal terms, and wanting the abolition of the rigid gender roles created since the earliest of times. However, through the twentieth century, these various gender roles still flourish, and are imposed on children often. Throughout To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee draws awareness to this continual division, creating a “compelling [narrative on] the world of segregation,” encompassing rigid gender roles and behaviors--which Scout resists--with men viewed as superior to women, whom are expected to run the town while women are restricted to domestic and …show more content…
Scout is expected to confine herself to this domestically-tied role, with women simply allowed to be motherly, which strongly ties into their occupation. As women, most of them portrayed in the novel only had jobs that is relatable back to the motherhood role as described earlier; no female in the story obtained any sort of “labor-intensive jobs” (such as cotton picking or policing), reserving these jobs for the males because of their strength and power. (Hakala 10). The elementary school teachers are exemplary of this fact, as not one teacher happened to be a male, due to the amount of affection and care required for the job; this translates to a job that would be perfect for women (at least in this society). Furthermore, Calpurnia adds on to this idea, as it isn’t a coincidence that the cook of the Finch’s happened to be female. Cooking falls under “taking care of the home,” thus, it is the right job for a women, but Calpurnia plays a role more vital than a cook, as she is also the “mother” of the family. Atticus refuses to dismiss Calpurnia, calling her an integral part of the family, being “a faithful member” who 's been teaching the children in even stricter ways “than a mother would have.” (Lee 139). Calpurnia gives Atticus a presence that he couldn’t “have …show more content…
Lee first exposes Scout’s position at the beginning of the text, as the narration causes the reader to have the first impression of a boy, when really Scout is simply a little girl. However, this tomboyish image carries on throughout the whole novel, especially when Scout beats people up--a very unladylike action. She begins early in the book by “rubbing [Walter’s] nose in[to] the dirt” because of the misfortune that he had caused her, establishing a sense of masculinity within her (Lee 27). She continues these “boyish” deeds later on by first threatening Cecil Jacobs for saying that Atticus “defended niggers,” and then by “split[ing] [her] knuckle” into Francis’ mouth for doing a very similar thing (Lee 79;88). These acts of aggression--which pertains to manliness--along with other unladylike actions causes Aunt Alexandra to intervene and attempt to “ladify” Scout and cause her conform to Maycomb’s gender roles. Alexandra pursues her goals first by bringing Scout to the “Missionary Society” to gossip like a lady would, eventually openly urging Scout to be a lady. However, Scout still resists conforming to these roles, making her final decision clear by refusing to take instructions from Jem and conform to the behavior of a lady. Provoking a fight, Scout punches Jem, who

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