The 5 biggest bombshells from Harper Lee’s new novel
Scout and Jem become obsessed with reclusive neighbor Arthur “Boo” Radley character) is Scout and Jem's father Atticus Finch, a widower and a local lawyer. If It Worked for The Mitchell Law Group, Can It Work for You?. This part of the novel challenges the attitudes of Scout and Jem towards Boo Radely as they . The relationship between Scout and Atticus also seems to be stronger and more .. Mitchell, step back from the text (so to speak). when “Mockingbird” is set, but Scout and Jem Finch and their geeky “I always called him Atticus, and he still called me Scout right up to the.
Zeebo's choice of name for his son could, furthermore, be an attempt to assert his own legitimacy in the face of the no doubt humiliating experience of being publicly denied by his white father.
Likewise, the miscegenation implicit in the mention of the Creek Indian Wars — fought over precisely that issue — that appears briefly in the third paragraph of Mockingbird, and more explicitly on the eighth page of Watchman, is not, on its own, sufficient to support the claim that the theme is more important to the novel than has been suggested. Nevertheless, the totality of these and the previously identified aspects of the novels suggest that such a relationship is a strong possibility.
Certainly, it is supported by more evidence than the simple assertion — made by other critics — that Calpurnia is single, married, or widowed. The point is, perhaps, that while Lee does not give us enough information to state definitively that there is such a relationship in the text, she does not give us enough information to rule it out.
Cappies: Sacred Heart does justice to Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird
This argument nevertheless raises the question of why, if, as has been suggested, the relationship is strongly hinted at, it is never directly stated. A possible answer may be found in both the author's literary model and the way in which the text might seek to work on its readers.
Prior to declaring her wish to be the Jane Austen of south Alabama, Lee observed that her objective was to "leave some record of the kind of life that existed in a very small world.
In an essay on the two writers, Jean Frantz Blackall observes, "for Lee to write truthfully of the small southern town, she found herself drawn into the representation of elements As such, the novels demand more from the reader than the partial vision — literal and figurative — exhibited by many of their protagonists.
By offering repeated suggestions about the possibility of the Atticus and Calpurnia relationship, the texts seem to demand that we pay attention to that which is hidden — in both the text and in life — by the concern with sexual violence by black men against white women, including the far more pernicious and prevalent sexual violence of white men against black women. Rape, Agency, Sex, and Politics Historically, the partial liberation of black women from plantation life into domestic service did little to free them from sexual violence.
The proximity of white men to African American women in the households where the women worked created enormous tensions for all of the women concerned, black and white. Sexual harassment by and nonconsensual sexual relationships with males living in the employer's house was one of the most difficult aspects of domestic service Calpurnia was in Atticus's or his family's employ in the two locations where sexual relations between white men and black women were most common: The veritable silence about this relationship, beyond the subtle references and allusions scattered throughout the two novels, might be considered evidence against the claim, and yet, chronicling small town life in the way Lee desired would make such silences an historically accurate depiction of the attitudes of white society towards such intimacies.
Echoing Miss Maudie's observation that, "The things that happen to people we never really know. What happens in houses behind closed doors, what secrets —" 61Dollard observes, "it is difficult to secure testimony on this score from white partners to such relationships; the only hints come from the gossip of other white people and the testimony of Negro women. He recounts the story of "a judge of the supreme court of the state," who "had a Negro mistress living in a cabin in his back yard.
The very ubiquity of such relationships is further suggested by Dollard's further account of a white lawyer in the same town with an illegitimate African American daughter, and by Moates's account of Monroeville life in the s. It is a relationship that Atticus — and a longstanding taboo against their being openly discussed — could well have kept "secret," at least by the town's standards on such issues.
This raises of, course, the uncomfortable — for some — possibility that Atticus Finch was a rapist. The claim that Thomas Jefferson repeatedly raped Sally Hemings because she could not, in any meaningful sense, consent to sex during their year relationship, is, Gordon-Reed observes, a problematic one.
It is, she says, predicated upon "a sophisticated technique": It presents the proponent of the idea as enlightened and forward thinking with regard to the nature of slavery, even as that individual promotes a cardboard version of the system. It is all the more seductive because the idea is not without merit. The slave system was inherently coercive. Therefore, one could argue, every act of sex between a master and slave was the equivalent of nonconsensual sex, in other words, rape.
We may know this is true in the theoretical sense, but something should tell us that it cannot have been true in every situation, under every circumstance Do we really believe that over the entire course of slavery in the United States, no master and slave woman ever experienced a mutual sexual or emotional attachment to one another? Although the advantages of miscegenation to white men are obvious, paying attention to the benefits that sometimes accrued to black women permits readers to bracket the sentimentality that infects many accounts of such relationships; it thus restores a degree of agency to the women who were a part of these common, but frequently overlooked, pairings.
Recognizing that some of these relationships were, whatever else they might have been, often a form of strategic resistance, situates these woman in a tradition of black women's private — and later public — struggles against racial and sexual subordination. It permits the acknowledgement of their resilience and agency in ways the victim or loving participant binary makes impossible.
It also demonstrates that the dominant understanding of Calpurnia in Mockingbird is a white fantasy that not only captures the blindness of Lee's white characters to the complexities of white-black relations in the period in which the book was set, but also the ongoing blindness of white readers divorced from their own history.
James McBride writes of Calpurnia, "I think she was a wonderful character, but you always live in that tight space when you're black. Harper Lee's approach gave Calpurnia some dimension. Calpurnia had a deep understanding of these issues, although she was restricted in terms of what she could do about a lot of these things.
Burnard's account of such agency in the Jamaican sugar plantations — the economic foundation of Atticus's law practice — is equally applicable to the Finches' American cotton fields.
Nevertheless, failing to recognize such agency is a failure to recognize black resistance, even if, as Gordon-Reed points out about Hemings, it is "especially hard and unpleasant for some to think that a black woman might have exercised her will, circumscribed as it was, by saying yes to Thomas Jefferson and, in doing so, have been able to exercise some influence over him.
Much the same can be said for the possible benefits that sexual relationships with white men brought to black domestics. Dollard notes, for example, that the offspring of such couplings, "although they cannot be acknowledged socially, they can be supported and aided to a chief a preferential position within the Negro group," just as, perhaps, Zeebo's literacy in Mockingbird gives him a privileged position in the church.
Dollard argues that for black domestics involved with white men there may have been an element of revenge against the white women who oversaw their exploitation; likewise, such hostility extended to the white men themselves, with relationships undertaken to expose the hypocrisies of segregation.
The history of black women's resistance in slavery and domestic servitude suggests, however, that Calpurnia's apparent lack of depth might be better read as strategy. The faithfulness that Atticus and many critics ascribe to Calpurnia may well be real, but they fail to appreciate is that such faithfulness was often "fundamentally strategic. Only with secrecy, thus achieving a self-imposed invisibility, could ordinary Black women accrue the psychic space and harness the resources needed to hold their own in the often one-sided and mismatched resistance struggle.
That it does not, suggests not only white American susceptibility as readers and citizens to sentimental narratives about race, but also their ignorance of history.
While not playing down the horrors of their experiences, some such relationships might best be understood as evidence of the agency of black women, not only in their own freedom struggles, but also in the broader freedom struggles of their people.
On the Irrelevance of White Saviors In her book, At the Dark End of the Street, historian Danielle McGuire shows how the Montgomery Bus Boycott arose from the responses of black domestic workers to the violence they experienced at the hands of white men, both in their employers' homes, and on the buses they used to travel to them.
It is no surprise that buses became the target of African-American resistance in Montgomery during the boycott. It was much easier, not to mention safer, for black women to stop riding the buses than it was to bring their assailants - usually white policemen or bus drivers - to justice. By walking hundreds of miles to protest humiliation and testifying publicly about physical and sexual abuse, black women reclaimed their bodies and demanded to be treated with dignity and respect It was also a women's movement for dignity, respect, and bodily integrity.
Watchman nevertheless rumbles with an undercurrent of black political mobilization. Indeed, Jean Louise unwittingly reveals the consequences of her family's treatment of Calpurnia, and indeed, of other families' treatment of their black servants, when she surveys the scene outside of her former maid's house: The road was half blocked by a line of cars standing aslant halfway in the ditch. She parked behind the last one and got out. She was startled, and she peered inside: This is a taxi, she thought In the struggle for civil rights, black activists frequently employed hearses as a means of transportation because they believed that the police would be less likely to stop them.
King frequently traveled to and from events in this fashion. It is, however, a mask that their demeanor, and the presence of the hearse, suggest is about to be discarded. As such, it may be that Watchman demonstrates that the Calpurnia in Mockingbird is precisely the Calpurnia that she wanted white people to see, and that she, like the Calpurnia of Watchman, knows that white saviors are unnecessary. He is the author of American Mourning.
At Post 45, I am enormously grateful to Sean McCann for his patience, support, and critical engagement. I am also grateful to Rachel Watson whose wonderful work on To Kill a Mockingbird pulled me into his orbit. Thanks must also go to Anna Shechtman and Palmer Rampell for their thoughtful editing. At William and Mary, I am grateful to John Lombardini, Claire McKinney, and Jackson Sasser for helpful discussions about aspects of the paper, and to Kristen Popham for her thoughts, comments, and able research assistance.
Considerable thanks are also due to the students from my seminar "Theorizing Harper Lee's America" in the spring semesters of and Thanks are always due to Caroline Hanley. The views expressed here, and any and all mistakes, are my own. Kendi, Stamped From the Beginning. National Books, Griffin and Don H. University of Georgia Press, She also appears in more scenes. This is not to argue that their reasons for doing so were the same. In many instances, black silence was undoubtedly a product of a legitimate fear of violent white reprisals.
Harper Collins, Subsequent references in parentheses. Sundquist's misunderstanding of Jacobs's assertion that Hitler is "washin' all the feeble-minded. The historical context nevertheless suggests the more prosaic explanation: Sundquist, Strangers in the Land. Harvard University Press, But don't make a production of it. The mockingbird is a symbol of these two men because a mockingbird as described by Miss Maudie is an animal of peace and in no way does anything to harm anyone or anything, however it still finds itself victim to the predatory nature of man.
Therefore Robinsons punishment and exclusion from the County is one based not upon the person he is but rather for how he is different in appearance. This passage influences us to view Atticus with greater respect, because from my own personal context I have been brought up to believe that if something or someone has done nothing wrong, there is no right to hurt them, and it shows that Atticus has that same value of respect for the innocent.
Although nothing is said about those who live in the Maycomb community and about Tom Robinson, Harper Lee is trying to make the reader not only think about mockingbirds but to think of Tom Robinson in the same situation, someone who has done nothing and is being killed for it.
This makes us think about the others in Maycomb county and we are then positioned to think of them as cruel or unfair people. Bruce Derby March 10, at 9: The next part of the paragraph then filled me in on something I had wanted to know.
To Kill a Mockingbird. - ppt download
According to Scout, Jem and dill, Mrs. Radley had been beautiful until she married Arthur. To me this is putting emphasis on the fact the Boo Radley is a evil, mysterious man. This point of evil is then again in the very next sentence re-enforced when it says that Mrs. Radley sat in the living room most of the time and cried. The fact that the language keeps going back to Boo Radley and how everything around him is fallen apart appealed to me, as it was an insight into the Radley family.
For example when you get lost in a shopping centre you immediately think that you have lost your parents forever. Because the children have been bought up during this legend created by the Maycomb community, they have always been involved in such things as guessing what they look like, making up games, fearing Boo Radley and so on.
Its because of this that it comes natural to the kids to be involved in such practices. Bruce Derby Oliver, you are commenting on the action of the story, which can be fine. To elevate your responses, try discussing uses of language or how Lee has manipulated narrative conventions in order to develop an idea.
Dylan H March 10, at 8: The scene described expresses the fear and urgency of the situation quite vividly, beginning with both Jem and Scout being woken up in the middle of the night. Just as the birds know where to go when it rains, I knew when there was trouble in our street. Soft taffeta-like sounds and muffled scurrying sounds filled me with helpless dread. This sense of urgency is realised immediately, when the characters realise that it is only 1.
The passage creates a vivid scene for the audience, which is effective in conveying emotion, making it appealing for the audience. The scene begins with an image of Jem and Scout tired and dreary, but at the same time urgently putting their shoes on with fear, ultimately creating suspense throughout the audience. The audience are connected with the characters through the imagery created in the scene, putting them in the shoes of the characters, which creates appeal amongst the audience.
The imagery does however create emotion, which also creates appeal amongst the audience. The horror and shock the characters experience as a result of the fire encourages the audience to desire comfort, just as the characters do. The characters desire someone or something that will make them feel safe, as do the audience for them. Through the characters Jem and Scout — mainly Scout, the audience share the fear, horror, and desire for comfort. The audience then become satisfied, as Jem, the older brother comes and comforts Scout, who tucks her head into his arm, while he tells her what is going on while at the same time re-assuring her that everything is going to be alright.
The sense of comfort created here is appealing to the audience, as well as the relationship between the brother and sister. People value love and care between brothers and sisters, but do not often experience it in the world today. Allan Cooke March 10, at 8: This passage really appealed to me because in my own experience it was the parents that do the disciplining not the Uncles or any other relative. When Uncle Jack took it upon himself to reprimand scout I was very taken aback.
This was mainly because her father Atticus had let it slide and was willing to just ignore it. In this instance the parental figure was overruled by the uncle in the discipline of his children. In this situation we are positioned to be shocked by the situation and also begin to question some of the practices in the Finch family and in turn the county of Maycomb.
We know that Uncle Jack is in a position of power within the Finch family and he is a well respected person by both Jem and Scout. We know this because Scout followed the instructions of Uncle Jack without question and promptly. Through this passage we also see that the relationship between Scout and Uncle Jack is extremely strong.
This is because he was the one who helped them when they hurt themselves or each other. Also we know that this is one relationship that will be very hard to break and Jack will always be there for Scout. During when Jack is telling Scout off we can tell that she is not going to stay true to her word. This is foreshadowing that something will happen to provoke her to cures at someone or something again in the near future. This acts to keep you as the reader hooked and eager to find out when this will be and how it will happen.
You also know that she will receive a harsh punishment for this because she has been forewarned not to do it, so we also want to know what the outcome of the whole situation will be and how it will be resolved.
It has excellent parallels to this scene. Your second paragraph is pretty good in that you explore the way the novel deals with a complex idea. I would like to see you write a bit more about specific uses of language or how the section reflects a manipulation of narrative conventions.
Condog March 10, at 8: This quote shows that they are embarrassed that their father cannot do the things the other children talk about their fathers doing.
I believe that the reason they refer to their father as Atticus and not as dad or father is because they have this lack of pride and appreciation, but not a lack of love.
Curiosity finally got the better of Dill and Jem, and it created in them the courage to sneak up to the Radley house to peer in the windows until they got caught and had to run away. Curiosity wasn't the only thing that bred courage.
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Because Jem didn't want to disappoint Atticus, he was forced to go back to the Radley place to retrieve his pants so that he wouldn't have to explain where he'd lost them. Although he knew it was dangerous and he was scared to go, Jem went to the Radley place because the courage to go there was easier to summon than the courage to face Atticus and tell him that Jem had flat-out disobeyed him.
Although Atticus made threats to his children all the time, he'd never whipped them. Jem didn't want to have to disappoint Atticus by explaining that he'd deliberately disobeyed him, so he went back for his pants despite the danger of it.
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He didn't want to change the nature of his relationship with Atticus by making him punish Jem. Jem realized that it was Boo leaving little gifts for them in the knothole of the oak tree, and he was crushed when Nathan Radley cemented up their only line of communication. Nathan said he did it because the tree was dying, but it was obvious to Jem that he did it just to keep them from communicating with Boo, it made him sad. Boo Radley found Jem's pants all tangled in the fence and mended them for him and left them folded across the fence.
This act of kindness frightened Jem because he felt that anyone who would know to leave his pants there for him like that must actually know him pretty well, and he was scared of what that might mean.
He worried about this incident for a week before he told Scout about it and even she was spooked by it. Just when they were going to thank him, Nathan took away their line of communication.
The things that Boo left for the children won them over, and Jem, more than Scout, was pretty certain who their benefactor was. Instead of showing Scout his emotions, Jem remains on the porch lost in thought. When he comes in the house, Scout can see he has been crying. Fear, disappointment, anger, and sadness are feelings everyone experiences.
Write a paragraph explaining how to deal with these strong emotions. Avery says that the seasons change when children are disobedient Mrs. Radley dies, Atticus does not see Boo at the house Conclusion of the search for Boo Radley Blanket foreshadows rescue later in the book 33 Theme Innocence: When Atticus suggested they return the blanket to the Radley house, Jem poured out all the secrets they'd been keeping about their contact with Boo Radley and how Nathan found ways to prevent it.
Jem didn't want to return the blanket because he didn't want to get Boo into trouble since he'd never done anything but help them out although he'd had plenty of opportunity to hurt them. Jem realizes that Boo is a friend in a way and he wants to protect him, so he was willing to expose all his secrets to Atticus in order to protect Boo. While Scout and Jem stood watching Miss Maudie's house burn down, they were shivering in the cold air.
What Scout didn't notice, until Atticus called it to her attention, was that someone had given her a brown blanket without her realizing it. Boo Radley had sneaked up behind her and covered her shoulders with the blanket while she and Jem were so absorbed in watching the fire.
Maycomb is a small, isolated town. Scout hears her classmates saying terrible things about Atticus because he's defending a black man, but she doesn't see the wrong in what her father is doing. Atticus explains to her that it's not really a bad thing, but some people see it that way. What does it tell you about his character? What things has Scout learned about life by chapter 9? Honesty is usually thought to be a positive characteristic.