Harper Lee Character Analysis

Great Essays
In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, the author, uses two young characters and their experiences to suggest motives behind the actions of the antagonists. Throughout three summers, two kids named Jean Louise (Scout) and Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem) grow up learning about different lessons and people in a southern town called Maycomb with the help of their father, Atticus Finch, and nanny, Calpurnia. In the book, several characters demonstrate cruel characteristics through their actions, such as deceiving the public. However, although readers may infer that the characters are evil, Harper Lee provides explanations to the possible causes of their actions and offers a positive perspective. Furthermore, she suggests how these faults and …show more content…
When Jem and Scout pass by her property, Scout says that they are “subjected to ruthless interrogation regarding … behavior, and given a melancholy prediction on what … [they] would amount to when … [they] grew up, which was always nothing” (133). In this statement, Scout illustrates the negative tone Mrs. Dubose conveys towards them because she describes the interrogation as ruthless and describes the harsh prediction of their future. Many readers at this point will oppose how Mrs. Dubose treats the children, but Harper Lee shows her motives as events unfold between Jem and Mrs. Dubose. Although the children ignores several incidents of harassment, Mrs. Dubose accuses Jem and Scout’s father as someone “in the courthouse lawing for niggers,” telling them, “Your father’s no better than the niggers and trash he works for” (135). This insult makes Jem “cut the tops of every camellia bush Mrs. Dubose owned, until the ground was littered with green buds and leaves” (137). Because many women take pride in their gardens during this time, Jem decides to ruin Mrs. Dubose’s pride, since Mrs. Dubose, an adult, slanders his father. Meanwhile, Atticus forces himself to be polite to Mrs. Dubose because she is an old lady who is battling an illness. After …show more content…
Aunt Alexandra, Atticus Finch’s sister, came to Maycomb from Finch’s Landing, a family home. During her stay, she often makes judgements she considers best for Atticus’s family and wants Scout to become more feminine. This leads her to behave like a motherly figure to both Jem and Scout. When Atticus speaks with Jem and Scout, he tells them to “behave like the little lady and gentleman that you are,” as advocated by Aunt Alexandra (177). Jem and Scout clearly convey their dismay with Atticus’s sudden change in attitude. During Jem and Scout’s reaction after Atticus’s statements, Scout tells the readers, “Stunned, Jem and I looked at each other, then at Atticus, whose collar seemed to worry him” (178). Even though she cares about them, Aunt Alexandra has made Atticus teach Jem and Scout from her values, showing a lack of understanding of the family. To elaborate, she tells Atticus that “You’ve got to do something about her,” as she talks about Calpurnia (182). Even though Calpurnia has helped Atticus’s family for many years, Aunt Alexandra wants to ignore this fact and instead wants to remove her, due to her belief that she is a bad role model from society’s views on blacks. This shows how she is unconcerned that Calpurnia being a member of the family and more

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