Gender Bias In Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

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“‘I guess it’s to protect our frail ladies…’” (Lee 296). Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, follows Jem and Scout - two young kids growing up in a town named Maycomb in 1930’s Alabama. Their father, Atticus, is appointed a difficult case in which he must defend a black man. They witness segregation, rumors, and the effects of the Great Depression throughout their county. Jem and Scout grow up fast and are expected to abide by social norms. Gender bias is portrayed when Jem insults Scout before going to the Radley’s house, when Atticus tells Jem what a gentleman does to keep him from fighting with people, and when Aunt Alexandra becomes Scout’s feminine influence due to her mother’s death. Gender bias is shown when and Jem uses discrimination…show more content…
A man that controls his emotions appropriately and does not let them get the best of him is considered a gentleman. Atticus informs Jem, “‘Easy does it, son… You just hold your head high and be a gentleman. Whatever she says to you, it’s your job not to let her make you mad’” (Lee 133). Whenever Jem and Scout walk by Mrs. Dubose’s house to greet Atticus after work, she repeatedly shouts unnecessary comments and insults at them. Jem becomes angry at these comments and Atticus tells him to act like a gentleman before he starts.. with Mrs. Dubose. One day after work, Atticus greets Mrs. Dubose with a wave of his hat and Mrs. Dubose does not say a word. Jem is shown what a gentleman does in that specific situation; he must respect Mrs. Dubose and ignore the insults. A gentleman holds his head high in tough times and does not brag or gossip about things to others as opposed to the…show more content…
Aunt Alexandra tells Scout, “‘We decided that it would be best for you to have some feminine influence. It won’t be many years, Jean Louise, before you become interested in clothes and boys-’” (Lee 170). When Scout’s mother dies of a heart attack, she is only 2 years old. Scout has lost the most significant feminine example in her life. Atticus raises her the best he can but she is still not acting like a proper lady. Aunt Alexandra calls Atticus out for letting his children run wild because of the lack of feminine influence in the Finch house. Scout follows Jem and Atticus’ lead and is influenced by what they do. She hardly wears dresses and wears britches like Jem instead. Scout herself constantly cusses, yet the Ladies Law says no foul language should be heard by a woman. And where most ladies gossip, Scout plays games with Jem and Dill and follows them around town. Aunt Alexandra is proud of the Finch family and does not want Scout to dirty the family name because of her improper actions. Gender bias in the 1930’s says a lady must act and talk proper, wear dresses, and socialize with other women. all of these being the opposite of what Scout is doing. Gender bias is portrayed in To Kill a Mockingbird through specific ways males and female are expected to act. Scout must act prim and proper and is supposed to be interested in news around town. Jem, on the

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