To Kill a Mockingbird Essay

753 Words Dec 5th, 2012 4 Pages
Education in the 1930s: To Kill a Mockingbird

Long before the 1930s public schools were a symbol of American democracy. It was a place where hard work and achievement were rewarded, where brilliance was dug up from basic talent, a necessary starting point on the road to success ("The 1930s: Education: Overview."). Education had an important role throughout the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee described education through her story and how it was a difficult thing to keep necessary. Along with the 1930s The Great Depression and segregation tagged along as well allowing teachers to go unpaid fully and schools to shut down. Conflicts over schools and education have often been the main struggle between the black and white
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For instance Walter Cunningham, he is a part of a large family but is poor. One day while he is in class his teacher offers him a quarter and says to pay her back the next day, it was an embarrassing moment for him knowing he had no ability to do so (Lee Pg. ). Some students could hardly afford the supplies they needed for school and eventually dropped out. The supplies that the school did provide were somewhat worn out books with missing pages. The great depression made it hard for schools to remain open due to all the taxes that were due and went unpaid for. Many children were left without a school.

To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the 1930s, a time in which schools were still segregated between whites and blacks, and would remain so for decades afterwards. In the south, the situation was even worse because few high schools even existed for blacks. Calpurnia tells the children she is one of only four people in her entire church who can read (Lee Pg. ). Blacks were admitted to a less educational system only because it would challenge white supremacy if they were all taught the same. The schools for white kids were far more bigger and cost more, approximately $561.26 while black schools had less room and approximately only cost $176.88 (www.ehow.com). Education at that time was much more structured and formalized than it is today. For example, Scout's first grade teacher is concerned with all the kids following a strict

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