Importance Of Classism In To Kill A Mockingbird, By Harper Lee

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Classism is assumed to be determined by the amount of money a person has. A person’s wallet seems more visible than their heart. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, the reader is told about a young girl, Scout, growing up in South Alabama in the 1930’s during the Great Depression. Her father is a respected lawyer who is assigned to defend an African American accused of raping a white girl. The trial for the case finally comes up, and the man’s legal status is decided. After he’s killed in jail, there are following events that affects people differently. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee uses characterization to suggest that the amount of money a person owns, does not equal the amount of integrity they have. In the beginning of …show more content…
After Scout and her brother, Jem, keep finding food and others goods in their yard, their father, Atticus, explains that Mr. Cunningham is paying him that way. In Atticus’ words, “Because that’s the only way he can pay me. He has no money” (21). This shows that Mr. Cunningham finds a way to pay his loans, even if it’s not with cash, but instead he shows his sense of responsibility and respect. When Scout’s teacher, Miss Caroline, offers Walter Jr. Cunningham money to get lunch, he refuses to accept it. As the narrator states, “The Cunninghams never took anything they can’t pay back…They don’t have much, but they get along on it” (20). This shows that Mr. Cunningham’s child learned from his father to stick around with what they have, instead of owing people money. There was a second poor family …show more content…
After Atticus is assigned to defend Tom Robinson, an African American, Scout asks him why is he doing something people say he shouldn’t be doing. In his own words, “The main one is, if I didn’t I couldn’t hold up my head in town…” (75). This shows that regardless if people think Atticus is doing the wrong thing, he still does it because it’s something a respectful man would do. He shows consideration for everybody. After Mrs. Dubose, a neighbor, calls Atticus a “nigger-lover” and Jem destroys her flowers, Atticus agrees to make Jem fix the damages, even though she has been rude to them. “Jem, she’s old and ill. You can’t hold her responsible for what she says and does” (105). This shows that Atticus knows Mrs. Dubose has been rude with his family, but instead, he understands that she acts without thinking since she’s old. Atticus doesn’t get angry at her, as some other person would. However, Atticus’ sister thinks different than him. After Scout says she wants to invite Walter Jr. to her house, her aunt tells her he can’t because of their different social class. In aunt’s words, “I’ll tell you why,... Because--he--is--trash, that’s why you can’t play with him. I’ll not have you around him, picking up his habits and learning Lord-knows-what” (225). This shows that Scout’s aunt is disrespectful, classifying people with rude names like trash, just because they are from a lower

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