Social Order in "To Kill A Mockingbird"

1163 Words5 Pages
Sitting outside of the cafeteria, the boy wishes nothing more than to be inside. Yet, somehow, he knows that if he were to enter nonchalantly, the others inside would clear a table, clear an aisle, clear the room—just for him. Beyond his desire to be part of the group, the boy wonders what reasoning stands behind his seclusion. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, presents a similar tale of isolation and class among members of Depression-Era Maycomb County, Alabama. Harper Lee conveys the message that having a clearly defined class system creates injustice despite enabling society to function smoothly by detailing the social exclusion of Dolphus Raymond, the Cunninghams, the Ewells, and the Blacks. First, Dolphus Raymond defies expectations established by the racial-social ladder by choosing to exclude himself from society, marrying a black woman, and living on an isolated patch of land by the river. When asked why, Jem replies that Mr. Raymond “’likes ‘em better’n he likes us,’” (161). Since whites are brought up on the belief that blacks are inferior, they immediately assume that any association with blacks deems a white inferior. However, this contradicts their notion that whites are superior to blacks. For instance, Dill says, “’He doesn’t look like trash,’” as he tries to understand why Dolphus Raymond is sitting with the blacks in the town square (161). This type of unreasonable contradiction observed by an adult would most likely lead to a violent confrontation. In order to avoid this kind of confrontation, Dolphus Raymond pretends to be an alcoholic. He says, “’It helps folks if they can latch onto a reason . . . they could never, never understand that I live like I do because that’s the way I want to live.’” (200). Without this reason, the townspeople would be confused and acrimonious when they discover that their stereotypes fail to include everyone, and

More about Social Order in "To Kill A Mockingbird"

Open Document