The Social Class Structure in To Kill A Mockingbird

English 10 3B

1 March 2004

Thesis Statement: In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee portrays the strict social class structure in the 1930’s through characters such as Atticus Finch, Scout Finch, Tom Robinson and others in order to help explain the problems with gender and racial roles in society during this time.

I. Men

A. Male Characters in the Novel

1. Atticus Finch

a. His openness to different opinions

b. Tries to “walk in other’s shoes” (3.3)

2. Walter Cunningham

a. His farming business

b. Low income

3. Bob Ewell

a. Wants to improve his social standing

b. Lies about Tom Robinson raping Mayella

B. The male dominated society during the 1930’s

1. Men’s role in community and in their homes

2. Feeling of dominance over women and African Americans in society

II. Women

A. Female characters in the novel

1. Aunt Alexandra and the Missionary Ladies

a. Talk about the African tribe, Mruanas

b. Female powerlessness which causes the attitudes of Southern ladies

2. Mayella Ewell

a. Has to care for her siblings

b. Gets abused by her father

3. Scout Finch

a. Her tomboy nature

b. Learns to become more like a young lady by Aunt Alexandra

B. The lack of women’s rights in the 1930’s

1. The Nineteenth Amendment

a. Continue to think women only belong in church clubs

b. Goes against the South’s view of well-mannered ladies

2. Early Suffragette Movement

II. The African Americans

A. The black community and characters in the novel

1. Characteristics of the black community

2. The First Purchase African M. E. Church

a. Only place for worship for the black people

b. Only four people in the church can read

B. The prejudices towards blacks during the 1930’s

1. The Scottsboro trials

3. Lynch mobs