Courage, femininity and masculinity, are just a small list of the representations portrayed through all of the characters in the stunning novel, “To kill a Mockingbird” written by Harper Lee. Not all characters represent the values, attitudes and beliefs of that time but in fact, they represent the values, attitudes and beliefs that challenged them. All characters contribute to a variety of discourses, which means that there is not one character, in the novel, that does not contribute to the overall message of the novel. This is why in this short-spoken presentation; courage, femininity and masculinity will be discussed in comparison to the main characters that represent these themes.
Harper Lee used many characters to show different types of femininity. The most deceiving character that represents femininity is Jean Louise Finch or otherwise known as Scout. She is a pre- pubescence girl, and is still a little emotional. Scout may not be feminie in someone else’s eyes, but in her one sense she is seen as a feminine character. Characteristically, in the 1930’s little girls were seen to have a place in the house learning to cook and clean; and stereotypically were expected to wear dresses. This however, did not fit Scouts’ image of being a feminie character as she was seen as a tom boy by some members of the Maycomb society.
Another character who showed femininity is Scouts Aunt Alexandra. Alexandra associates with the correct people, uses her manners and sometimes wears dresses which allows her to believe that she is still feminine, even though she is a well built woman who is highly dominating and behaves in a masculine way. Harper Lee used the discourse of femininity among all of these characters to show that they are all feminine. The characters just depict this theme in their own way.
Aunt Alexandra comes to the Finch residence at the end of chapter twelve, declaring that the family decided that it would be best for Scout and Jem to have some feminine influence in their lives. Scout knows that Alexander usually dictates what she wants upon the family, and uses the term the family decided to make her an even greater point of authority in the Finch family. Usually her dictations ...
Harper Lee constructed many characters who challenged the mental characteristic of masculinity. Aunt Alexandra was one of these characters, who was created to show the mental side of masculinity. She is a dominating and masculine character who has control of her husband which means that she is the dominating figure of her household. Alexandra always organises everything, like Christmas dinners, which means that everyone has to go to her. This creates an image that she is the matriarch of the family. The reason Harper Lee used Aunt Alexandra as a discourse of mental masculinity, is because she wanted to show that a female was above a male, which was not occurring in the time period.
An alternative character who the author used to portray the discourse of psychological masculinity is Atticus Finch. Atticus Finch is known to be in the higher class of the Maycomb society because of his occupation. His dressing is always formal and his thinking is revolutionary for the time period. Atticus challenges the values, attitudes and beliefs of the time by defending a Negro male named Tom Robinson. He is unable to win the prejudice trial which falls in favour of Bob and Mayella Ewell and Tom Robinson is put in jail were he is later shot dead.
The community finds out that the Ewell’s made a fake testimony which makes Bob go out on a revengeful attack starting with Atticus. After Atticus delivers the horrible news to Tom’s family that he is dead, he is confronted by Bob Ewell who spits on Atticus’s face, expecting him to fight. Atticus does not lower himself down to bob’s level and fight, but he merely wipes the spit of his face and walks away which shows a large amount of mental masculinity portrayed by Atticus.
The last theme being discussed is courage which is greatly represented by Arthur Radley or otherwise known as “Boo”, Radley. Arthur Radley was locked up in his house by his father when he was caught and arrested for being at the wrong scene with the wrong people. He never came out of the house in the sunlight and was never seen. From the inside of the house, boo watched Jem and Scout carefully, making sure that they were not in trouble. When the kids were under attack by Bob Ewell, Arthur had to leave his house to help Scout and Jem. This is regarded as courage because Boo left his house were he had sheltered for many years to help Atticus’s children and risk being killed himself.
To Kill a Mockingbird "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee is a story of national magnitude that contains complex characters. Harper Lee deals with the emotions and spirits of the characters insight fully. A few of these characters display courage at one point or another in the story. These flashes of courage come during turbulent times of the story, and often led to success. Atticus Finch ...
Boo stops Bob from murdering Scout and Jem. However Boo does not stop being courageous there, he carries Jem home who is seriously injured after the assault and stays with Jem just to make sure that he is safe. After Jem is bandaged up, Atticus, Heck Tate, scout and some other characters discover Boo hiding behind the door. He finally has enough courage to face the members of the Maycomb community which again, takes courage. Harper Lee wanted to show the discourse of courage which was represented both mentally and physically by Arthur Radley.
In conclusion, Harper Lee wanted to show the comparison and differences of, femininity, masculinity and courage of the 1930’s with the values, attitudes and beliefs of the same time. Harper Lee proved that femininity, masculinity and courage can be exposed in many ways it does not have to be revealed in just one way.