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Oppression in To Kill A Mockingbird

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Jenna Jo

on 30 October 2015

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Transcript of Oppression in To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird
is, as we all know, a historical fiction novel set in 1930's Alabama. During the 1930's, America fell into the Great Depression. The Great Depression hit Alabama especially hard due to a pre-existing agricultural decline. All the while, blacks fought for their basic rights, as they still faced discrimination in many ways.
To Kill a Mockingbird provides an astoundingly accurate portrayal of the oppression of poor whites and blacks in the 1930's. Harper Lee uses her characters and the hardships they face to demonstrate how the Great Depression and racial discrimination affected the people of America in that time.
Context
Portraying Society
Lee works to replicate the society of the 1930's in
To Kill a Mockingbird
as well. To make Maycomb's society more accurate, Lee displays multiple instances of racial discrimination and poverty through her characters and their actions. The black characters live segregated lives, make lower wages, and were considered lesser, as they were in the 1930's. Impoverished characters had to miss school to help their families on the farm and were likely living in poverty even before the Great Depression.
FDR's Inauguration
Lee alludes to FDR's inauguration in her celebrated "Maycomb was an old town..." paragraph in the early pages of
To Kill a Mockingbird.
Specific Events
In
To Kill a Mockingbird
, Lee mentions several historical events and their effects on oppressed communities to better illustrate the oppression of the 1930's. Some of these events are President Franklin Roosevelt's inauguration, the decline of the Ku Klux Klan after the 1920's, the surge of lynchings in the South after the Great Depression, and the formation of Hoovervilles across the country, especially in urban areas.
By: Jenna Johnson
Oppression in To Kill a Mockingbird
"But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself,"
"All the little man on the witness stand had that made him any better than his nearest neighbors was, that if scrubbed with lye soap in very hot water, his skin was white."
"Reason I can't pass the first grade Mr. Finch, is I've had to stay out ever' spring an' help Papa with the choppin'"
Thanks for
watching!
Full transcript