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Examples Of Poverty In To Kill A Mockingbird

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Racism, Poverty, and Violence in To Kill a Mockingbird

Maycomb, like other Southern towns, suffers considerably during the Great Depression. Poverty reaches from the privileged families, like the Finches, to the Negroes and “white trash” Ewells, who live on the outskirts of town. Racism violently attacks the people of Maycomb and causes many conflicts throughout the novel which causes violence amongst the citizens. Harper Lee uses the characters involved in To Kill a Mockingbird as symbols of the main themes of the story, which includes, poverty, racism, and violence and these recurring themes influence the actions of the characters in numerous ways. Poverty is repeatedly referenced throughout the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Many citizens …show more content…
Domestic violence, specifically. Mayella Ewell, apart of the poorest family known in Maycomb, is the victim of the Tom Robinson case. As the case begins to unfold, the audience learns a little more about Mayella. She seems to not be familiar with the term “respect” when it comes to people talking to her. She mistakes an act of courtesy as mockery, when Atticus calls her “Miss Mayella.” “‘Long’s he keeps on callin’ me ma’am an sayin’ Miss Mayella. I don’t hafta take his sass, I ain’t called upon to take it’” (Lee 243). We then learn more about Mayella’s life at home. Atticus then exposes the fact that her dad abuses her. The audience can assume this, given the evidence, even though Mayella denies it. She is also confused when Atticus asks her about her friends. “‘Miss Mayella,’ said Atticus, in spite of himself, ‘a nineteen-year-old girl like you must have friends. Who are your friends?’ … The witness frowned as if puzzled. ‘Friends?’...” (Lee 245). Mayella continues her confusion when Atticus asks if she loves her father. ‘“Love him, whatcha mean?’” (Lee 245). From her failure to understand the words friends and love, I can infer that she has probably not experienced either. She stays home most of the time, and I cannot imagine her receiving a feeling of love or respect from her father or her brothers. The jury, along with the bystanders, realize that the reason for Mayella’s actions and over-emotions, might be a result to how she is treated at

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