An Analysis of the Setting in to Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Categories: To Kill A Mockingbird

A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object, it is a type of analogy. The title of the novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee explain nothing about the plot of the book. And it is hard to guess and assume to whom the title maybe connected to. This novel brought Harper Lee the worldwide fame and respect and also she got the Pulitzer Prize in 1960.

And right a way it comes a question…why? As I said the title has a deep meaning, it represents the lost innocense and it happens throughout whole novel. But suffered the most only Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. One mockingbird is shot; the other is forced to kill. “The theme of the mockingbird is clearest most with Tom Robinson and Boo Radley, within the novel it is explained that mockingbirds do nothing than make beautiful music.

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Tom and Boo didn’t commit crime, but were treated that way.”

Firstly the setting of the novel is 1960 and the racial prejudice was flourished in that time in Maycomb, Alabama. Tom Robinson was a young African-american. And it was obvious that he would be found guilty in anyway. Why? Because he was a Negro. The discrimination of African Americans at 1930s was terrible. It all started in the Southern States and Great Depression in (Started in 1600s), where African Americans were discriminated not only economically, but also socially and politically.

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African Americans could not held the same job as white people, could not go to the same church and etc. They were third class citizens. There was a policy of segregation that was created and enforced by “Jim Crow” laws. Jim Craw established laws that white people were superior to the black people in all the important ways. His laws not only touched every aspect from everyday life in Alabama, but also it separated each white with the African American people. He stated that white and African American people are not equal and could not have the same rights and laws in Alabama during 1930s. At that time African American were seen as social and intellectually inferior beings. African Americans tried to fight for their civil rights with the protesting I churches, but it was not worth it. Because then it came a time of lynch. Lynch-is to put the death (as by hanging) by mob action without legal sanction. Lynching African Americans was something normal in that time and even government didn’t pay attention to it. This type of violence “promoted” some functions within society, for instance” to eradicate specific persons accused of crimes against the white community. (National Park Service) In TKAM Tom Robinson was defended of raping the white women and even though he had the strongest and persuasive lawyer, even though this lawyer found some evidence for his innocence, which was strong enough to be convincing. Tom Robinson was found guilty. And then was killed by being shot 16 times. Of course the guards in the jail told everybody that Tom became mad and started to climb by the fenced. But I think that it could be undoubtfully assumed that they just killed them because he was not white.

Furthermore we forgot to mention the discrimination of those with mental issues. In the novel the second Mocking bird – is mentally sick. He was like a mystery, until the end. Scout and Jam (the main characters of the book) thought that he was ugly, angry and mystical. Boo gave Jam, Scout and Dill a thrill and big interest, due to the fact that they never saw him before the night when Bob Ewell attacked them. But before that they were making fun of him, by inventing some fantasy stories with his participation in it and by making up some funny games of him. Children in their age can be so mean and cruel, and the saddest part is that they even didn’t understand that Arthur needed serious help. But lets be more specific. What is mental illness? And why people with it were discriminated too in that time? A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. Furthermore, to my regret, they were treated the same way as African Americans and even worse.

If a person in the United States was either born mentally retarded or happened to lose brain function to any extent in the 1930’s, they were more than likely to be locked up in an institute. Due to a lack of research and the drive to do so by too many researchers, a mentally retarded person was considered “daft’ or stupid. Very rarely was there any effort to help them by interacting or attempting to educate them to any extent. The family of a mentally retarded person would often be looked down upon and even shunned. This was because people did not understand the condition and were really scary. They were often believed to be possessed. In some cases, they were even given lobotomies, where parts of their brain was removed! Many were treated with electroshock therapy and other cruel methods of therapy in order to cure them. So it was imposible for the parents of that poor child not to be in «a shame» as whole town would know. That is what happened with Arthur Radley. His father didn’t want to help him to solve the problem, he didnt even try to ask Arthur by himself, he just locked him in his house without listening to his child.

However Boo Radley’s father make a favor for Boo by not sending him to the mental instition. Mental Hospital Abuse increased during the great depression. There were sudden and rapid flow of patients and all hospitals in USA were overcrowded. Many patients were given drugs to try and help schizophrenic patients. Many of those drugs just put the patients into a zombie-like form. Many patients were forced to stay for long period of time in straight jackets. But the popular treatment was a shocking therapy. It induced seizures in patients. Many patients were left tied in their beds for their whole life. Staff of the hospital had rights to beat to submission the patient. And maybe it is better to leave the person with the mental issue at home. Yes, Arthur was locked in his house. But he was quite, he didn’t have too much paroxysms. He didn’t do anything bad. He put the presents for the Scout and Jam in the hollow of the oak. He was shy, brave and misunderstood person.

In the end he saved the life of them. He was forced to kill Bob Ewell to save the life of the innocence children. He showed his courage because previously he was hiding in his house and feares the outside world like total recluse. His exhibition of this newfound courage causes the few who witness it to change their perception of him and realise that he is indeed a good man, as opposed to the malevolent one they first believed him to be. But Bob Ewell wanted the revenge. Because even though Tom Robinson was found “guilty”, all the citizens of Maycomb understood that it was not truth. Bob Ewell could do nothing to Atticus, and that is why he decided to play on his children. It was very “poor” action as the children cannot defend themselves, and also he had cold steel arms- knife. Arthur killed him. But Tate offer an exuse that Ewell fell on his knife by himself. “ I’m not a very good man, sir, but I am sheriff of Maycomb County. Lived in this town all my life an’ I’m goin’ on forty-three years old. Know everything that’s happened here since before I was born. There’s a black boy dead for no reason, and the man responsible for it’s dead. Let the dead bury the dead this time, Mr. Finch. Let the dead bury the dead.”

In conclusion I can say that the title “To Kill a Mockingbird” is the metaphor and it reveals the innocence of two poor men: of Tom Robinson and of Boo Radley. The Tom Robinson was found guilty only because he was African American, even though the Atticus had proves for his innocence. Boo Radley is mentally sick, But in the end of the novel, he was forced to kill a Bob Ewell in order to save the life of the Atticus children’s. To end up I think that this is the main quotation in the novel: “I’d rather you shoot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Bibliography

  1. Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1960.
  2. National Park Service, . 27 Feb 2014. http://www.nps.gov/malu/forteachers/jim crow laws.htm
  3. MANI, 2013. O. <http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=by_illness>.
  4. Warwick, Brunton. n.d., n. pag. <http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/mental-health services/page-3>.

Cite this page

An Analysis of the Setting in to Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (2021, Sep 11). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/an-analysis-of-the-setting-in-to-kill-a-mockingbird-by-harper-lee-essay

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