To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee: A Literary Analysis

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Harper Lee explores racism in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird through several literary devices, including point of view. Readers learn the story of To Kill a Mockingbird through the point of view of Scout Finch, the six-year-old daughter of a lawyer who defends a black man. In a criticism titled Racism in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Dorothy Jewell Altman writes, “[Harper] Lee believes that children are born with an instinct for truth and justice. Their education, which is the result of observing the behavior of the adults around them, can nurture or destroy their intrinsic goodness” (Altman, 19). From this analysis of Harper Lee’s views on children, readers of To Kill a Mockingbird know that Lee chose to tell the story through Scout’s point of…show more content…
For example, one interaction between Atticus and Scout depicts the impact of social influences on racism. “’Do you defend niggers, Atticus?’ I asked him that evening. ‘Of course I do. Don’t say nigger, Scout. That’s common.’ ‘ ‘s what everybody at school says.’ From now on it’ll be everybody less one --‘” (Lee, 85). In this quotation, Lee’s use of point of view demonstrates Lee’s belief that society stimulates racism and that it is the family’s duty to prevent their children from being racist. By the midpoint of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout understands and obeys her father’s desires for her to not have prejudice against black people. Lee first displays Scout’s righteous attitude in defense of her father and of African Americans in an interaction between Scout and Mrs. Dubose, in which Mrs. Dubose declares that Atticus is insane and is “‘ better than the niggers and trash he works for!” (Lee, 117). When Scout reflects on Mrs. Dubose’s claim, Scout says, “I wasn’t sure what Jem

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