The Role Of Women In To Kill A Mockingbird

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In the 1930’s the word woman was often treated as a synonym for kind, considerate, modest, and fragile. However, not all women were submissive and gentle. Yet, they acted as if they were in order to fit in with this ideal of what people thought a woman was. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, the author portrays how women were conflicted with the stereotype that comes along with being a woman. Women during the 1930’s had little career options, rules of femininity to follow, and a strict social life which is manifested through the characters and plot in To Kill a Mockingbird.
During the 1930’s, Women faced hardships such as few choices for occupations, a code of manner to follow, and not many options for what to do with their social lives. If
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Many women were scorned and ridiculed for taking a man’s job. Therefore, many women only had “female” occupations like, secretaries and sales clerks (Baughman). There were even fewer opportunities for black women. About 75 percent of black women in the workforce were employed in domestic service, laundry work, and agriculture (Baughman). Along with the difficulties that came with possessing a job, women also were expected to behave perfectly at all times. It was as if women had an invisable set of guidelines that they needed to follow in order to be respected. Women were expected to follow stricter moral and behavioural codes than men. The stereotype was for women to be kind, innocent, and helpless. Smoking, drinking, cursing, and playing sports was all considered unladylike and were all disapproved of (Marshall). It was thought that a woman’s life led up to her getting married and after that her life would be complete (Ware). This life goal correlates to why a woman’s reputation meant so much to her. Accompanied with these firm principles, Women were additionally limited to what they did with their free time. Many women were …show more content…
Scout is a young rambunctious tomboy who would rather spend her time playing with her older brother Jem than playing with dolls. Many of the adults in Scout’s life point out the fact that she doesn’t behave how a proper lady should. Women during this time were not supposed to curse, play sports, or dress in trousers (Marshall). Scout does all of the following and is called out several times for doing so. This shows that women had a strict list of what to do and what not to do. Scout reflects how hard it was to live freely as a woman no matter what her age in the 1930’s society. Similarly, Mayella Ewell is another woman who had a difficult time fitting in with the stereotypical ideal of women during this time. Mayella Ewell is a lower class white woman who doesn’t have any friends and spends her time either working to support her family or running the house. Women in the lower class were looked down upon in the 1930’s, but were still expected to be the stereotypical woman who was kind, gentle, and innocent. Mayella Ewell is considered to be “white trash” by several characters due to her family being poor and uneducated. Mayella lacked many of resources more respectable women had, yet she was still expected to act like a proper woman. Mayella Ewell demonstrates how women were expected to act no matter where they stood on the social

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