To Kill A Mockingbird is a breathtaking, believable, and captivating story aimed at challenging society’s ideologies. Why wasn’t it kept this way?

Movie rating: ⅗ stars

While aiming to bring an exemplary novel to the theaters, the film manages to get rid of some of the source’s most iconic characters.                                                             

By: Juliana Giraldo

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Atticus, Scout, and Jem Finch from the 1962 film, To Kill A Mockingbird.

           Watching the movie, To Kill A Mockingbird, after reading the source material by Harper Lee can go either two ways. First, as a thought-provoking, daring, and heartfelt semi-autobiographical bildungsroman directed by Robert Mulligan. In that way, the movie To Kill A Mockingbird surpasses it’s expectations, managing to bring the novel’s characters to life, and become an award-winning film. As a little girl I would have probably identified with Scout, a girl protagonist who’d rather play outside with boys, and wear overalls instead of uncomfortable dresses due to her independent and daring attitude. Mary Badham, the actress who performed Scout in the Universal International adaptation, manages to bring Scout to life, and lead us through a town full of religious hypocrisy, gender norms, and racial and social prejudice with a very innocent perspective.  Nevertheless, another way to look at this adaptation is as the inferior counterpart of the book, since it does not reach many of the readers expectations. Believing that even though the film manages to bring the story and characters to life, the movie puts at risk the viewers total understanding of the themes presented, because it left out significant segments found within the book, or sometimes even altered them beyond recognition.

The content of To Kill A Mockingbird manages to match some of the novel’s material, yet many of its bold elements were cut off.

           The core of the film mostly corresponds with the book. Scout, ranging from six to nine years of age during the novel and film, is one of the various “mockingbirds” found throughout the story.  She lives in Maycomb County, a microcosm of the deep south of the United States, with her righteous father Atticus (Gregory Peck), a great lawyer, and her older brother Jem (Phillip Alford), who is four years her senior. She is constantly reminded by her family to conform to gender norms, and feels underestimated due to her age. As Scout is growing up, she is faced with the challenge to not allow other people’s prejudices contribute to how she perceives individuals, and must also manage to live under constant judgment as her father defends a black man accused of rape. Throughout her journey, Scout learns about the value of empathy, justice, and equality, and so do all of the readers and viewers.

           The contour of the story is somewhat consistent, but some very important and insightful characters are left out from the Universal International adaptation. Lost are the characters of Aunt Alexandra and Mr.Raymond, which even though were very significant in the novel, they were not included in the movie. In addition, not much emphasis is provided to a “wagonload of unusually stern-faced citizens”, characters, which later lead to the understanding that many people who state to follow religion very deeply, actually use religion to justify their immoral actions.

            All of us who have read the book can agree that To Kill A Mockingbird is recognized worldwide due to it’s demonstration of the firm boundaries and discrimination between social classes, and gender expectations, some which were majorly omitted in the movie due to the absence of Aunt Alexandra. Aunt Alexandra, Atticus’s younger sister, was a very essential character in the novel, as her strict, “proper”, and closed minded personality served as a foil character for Scout. Her strong disapproval towards her niece’s relationships with black people and even with white people, in lower social rankings, led Scout to realize that social categorization and race should not matter since people should be valued by who they are in the inside. In addition, Aunt Alexandra served to shed light on the theme of gender norms and expectations. Her strong beliefs represented almost every woman and girl in the 1930’s United States. Therefore, Scout is a stark contrast to her aunt, and criticized due her “improper” language, tomboyish ways, and improper behaviour and dressing. This allows the reader to comprehend Southern customs. Accordingly, taking Aunt Alexandra out of the picture in the movie, takes away meaning from the themes and background context, not allowing the viewers to completely understand the story since it does not provide them with enough background information to understand how the county works.

            Another reason why To Kill A Mockingbird is acclaimed worldwide, is due to the novel’s realistic and relatable characters. Mr. Raymond, a wealthy white man who’d rather spend time with “black folks” and is married to a black women, is also left out of the film. Mr.Raymond, a man who constantly pretends to be drunk due to society’s disapproval of interracial relationships, takes a lead position, just like Atticus, in the theme of equality. His valuable thoughts on injustice, and racism are beautiful and truthful. His wisdom on the innocence of children, and how aging allows them to see as normal what they once considered horrible and heartbreaking; is a life lesson for both the readers and young characters. However, as Mr.Raymond was never seen in the film viewers will never obtain his wisdom, or neither better understand the historical context of the story.

             To Kill A Mockingbird is also recognized for Harper Lee’s message on religion. The purpose of religion is to provide people with values and ethics, however, in the book many “religious” people prefer not to “walk the talk”. A “wagonload of unusually stern-faced citizens”, who Ms.Maudie refers to as foot-washing baptists, led all readers to understand the existence of religious hypocrisy. These characters who were considered to be deeply religious, and blind followers of Christianity came into Maycomb County to watch this mockery of justice.  Nevertheless, they were not heading towards the trial to support the obviously innocent black man accused of rape, instead, due to their clear belief in white supremacy, they awaited for the defendant to be declared guilty; something clearly contradicting to Christian principles. Consequently, this event allowed the readers to comprehend and realize how even though religion is considered enriching, it is also very hypocritical, and many times not applied by people who call themselves deeply religious. Therefore, only allowing the viewers to briefly see this characters, causing them to consider them part of the background, does not allow this meaningful message to be communicated.

To Kill A Mockingbird does not fall short when criticizing racism, but the significance of its other critiques seemed to be less considered.

            There are many reasons why at the end of the movie, even though I was relatively satisfied due to being able to see my favorite novel come to life, I was left feeling incomplete. It is obvious that a novel will always have to be adapted or even altered in order to be turned into a film. However, too many significant elements of the novel, and even characters which had a great participation in the book were left out. Now, I wonder whether the film was actually made shorter due to time constraints, or was it only to focus on delivering one specific message to the public instead of many. I wonder whether the movie purposely left out many of it’s very important elements and characteristics to cause less controversy, prevent it from being banned, and to make people less uncomfortable, even though it was initially meant to do so.

 

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Journal Entry #6

To Kill A Mockingbird Banned For Being Too Enchanting?

What is usually the first thing you think about when someone mentions the novel To Kill A Mockingbird? Well, many people would think of the word “banned”, but I, for instance, think of the word “breathtaking”. To Kill A Mockingbird is a captivating novel that exposes the imperfections of society within the most innocent perspective; the perspective of a young girl who is born into a society characterized by sharp divisions around race, class, age, and gender. This young girl has to deal with very strong dilemmas as she comes of age, and by doing so, with the help of other main characters, helps us reflect upon our daily choices and how we face similar situations throughout our lifetime.

Maycomb County, Alabama is the main setting of this magnificent story and is located in the southern part of the United States. This small town is filled with people with strong thoughts upon white supremacy, the importance of class, and of course, gender norms. Scout, the protagonist of the novel has to deal with various situations related to each topic and is majorly underestimated due to her age and gender which cause people to believe that she won’t be able to handle many of the occurring situations, such as the Tom Robinson trial.

During the Tom Robinson trial (a trial that was being done due to Mayella Ewell’s accusation of rape by a black man) Scout’s father, Atticus, gives a very beautiful speech that captures the essence of the book. Atticus’s speech talks about his belief in racial equality and how discrimination against an innocent black man due to his skin color at a court, which is a place everybody should be seen as equals, was wrong. Atticus’s word choice and his will to help Tom Robinson was astonishing, and made me as a reader reflect upon how I treat others and have the desire to adopt this non-stereotypical way of thinking in order to treat others as equals and become a better person; one who earns other people’s respect.

Atticus Finch and Tom Robinson during the trial in 1962 To Kill A Mockingbird film.

Furthermore, Scout’s way of challenging not only her gender expectations but also the expectations that came with being part of a high ranking class in her county was amazing. Scout’s independence and boldness were really inspiring since they demonstrated that even though she was a southern girl and was supposed to wear pink dresses, and be “fragile” and dependent upon others, she was able to do everything a boy could do, but as well have the courage it took to be a proper lady if she pleased. In addition, as she grew up she became a girl who was becoming less stereotypical and accepting others by treating them nicely and as equals no matter their class and race. An example of how she does this is how she treats Calpurnia, even though Calpurnia is a black woman she treats her fondly and with respect. Another example is how she expresses about her classmate Walter Cunningham; Scout talks about Walter with respect and the belief that he is a good person even though he might come from a lower social ranking that she is in. These ways of challenging society’s expectations are ones that I would like to adopt in my own life due to my belief that these attributes comprise what I consider a good person; a person who is caring towards others and can take care of oneself.

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Jem and Scout Finch sitting beside the tree on the corner of the Radley lot. Scout is wearing an overall which is a piece of clothing consisting of trousers (jeans) and a front flap over the chest which is held up by straps. This type clothing was considered improper for a southern girl during that time. 

Breathtaking, yes, that is how I would describe Harper Lee’s masterpiece. A novel filled with learning experiences; a novel that exposes society’s biggest flaws in the most innocent way. This novel is one that enriches its readers with lessons about respect, love, and equality, making it quite foolish for it to be banned so many times.

Journal Entry #5

Nazi Germany and the 1930s-1940s United States Very Alike?

Discrimination, a strong word with an awful meaning. Many people used to disagree that the United States and Nazi Germany were very similar during the 1930s-1940s. I, for instance, disagree and believe that they were quite similar in the sense of segregation. Hitler discriminated Jews and wanted Germany to only be filled with what he considered the master race; tall, blonde, and blue-eyed Germans. The U.S was no different, but instead of segregating Jews, white Americans discriminated blacks due to their skin color, and their belief in white supremacy. This similarity is majorly exposed by Scout, also known as Jean Louise, in To Kill A Mockingbird.

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A sign that prohibited the entrance of black people to an only whites park during the during Jim Crow era.

Propaganda poster that showed what Hitler considered the German master race.

In marvelous chapter number 26, Scout defined the word “democracy” during Miss Gates class. She defined democracy as: “Equal rights for all, special privileges for none.” Consequently, Miss Gates said that the U.S being a democracy was what differentiated it from Germany. “Over here we don’t believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced…” she said. Then she was asked why Hitler didn’t like Jews, and quickly responded, “I don’t know, Henry. They contribute to every society they live in…” Allowing the reader to make a deep connection between blacks and Jews during that time.

The existence of Jim Crow laws in the U.S during World War II even left UN delegates aghast due to the similarity between the United States racial discrimination and Hitler’s “master race”. This made U.S friendly countries doubt the U.S devotion to democratic faith, leading the U.S president Harry Truman in 1948 to promote racial equality. He persuaded the Congress to put an end to the poll tax, and impose fair voting and hiring practices. He also persuaded the Congress to put an end to Jim Crow transportation. Truman also mandated the reintegration of the United States armed forces.

In conclusion, the U.S (during the 1930s-1940s) and Nazi Germany were actually very similar. They took away various basic rights to their undesired races, even though they contributed to society. Scout, the protagonist of To Kill A Mockingbird, even though very young noticed the similarities between this two countries, and somehow disagreed with them. Making us, as readers, reflect on our present-day society and how we treat the people around us.

 

Journal Entry #4 – Writing From a Different Perspective

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Atticus, Scout, Dill, and Jem during the jailhouse scene in the film To Kill A Mockingbird.

The ambient was tense, I saw and heard Atticus speaking to what seemed to be a mob hidden under the shadows. Atticus seemed to try to remain calm, but the conversation seemed to turn even more hostile with the passing of every word.

“Do you really think so?”

I heard Atticus say in what appeared to be a challenging tone. I had begun to expect this confrontation to become violent if Atticus kept showing defiance. I continued to observe the situation from our hiding spot when Scout broke away from me and Dill. I shrieked, she was already far ahead of us; I knew I shouldn’t have brought her, she was too naive and immature to understand that this was a dangerous situation. With one false move, she could get Atticus or even herself killed. I ran after her, trying to catch her, but she had already reached Atticus.

“H-ey, Atticus!”

Dill and I couldn’t do much but catch up. Atticus looked at all of us, plain fear printed on his face. This situation was even more dangerous than I had previously thought. I could smell whiskey, and tried to recognize the men hidden within the darkness, but it was all too much, I couldn’t recognize anyone except for Walter Cunningham who had already been exposed by Atticus.

Atticus stood up from his chair and moved slowly, carefully putting his newspaper down. I saw his trembling fingers, he seemed very nervous, especially now that we were there with him.

“Go home, Jem. Take Scout and Dill home.”

I shook my head, refusing to obey him and leave him alone. Atticus placed his hands on his hips, trying to demonstrate authority over me; I did the same.

“Son, I said go home.”

I shook my head again. I would not leave him alone with this mob, I knew he would get all beat up if I did.

“I’ll send him home.”

The next thing I noticed was that a man had grabbed me by the collar and pulled me up, almost nearly off my feet.

“Don’t you touch him!”

Scout kicked the man quickly, who surprisingly fell back in real pain, dropping me to the ground. I saw her try to kick that burly man again, but that time aiming for his shin; sadly she failed.

“That’ll do, Scout.” Atticus placed his hand on her shoulder, “Don’t kick folks. No—.”

“Ain’t nobody gonna do Jem that way.”

I felt thankful for what Scout had done, she had saved me from a very bad beat up, but it was clear to me that she didn’t truly understand what was going on, she probably thought it was just like one of the fights she gets in at school, not a fight to prevent Tom Robinson from being lynched.

“All right, Mr.Finch get ’em outa here. You got fifteen seconds to get ’em outa here.”

Atticus stood there, looking at me, trying to make me change my mind and take Scout and Dill home.

“I ain’t going,” I answered boldly.

“Please Jem, take them home.”

Atticus seemed desperate to make us leave, to convince me to take Scout and Dill home, but I would not do it, I had my reasons for doing as I did.

Silence inside the jailhouse was suddenly broken by Scout.

“Hey, Mr.Cunningham.”

She had finally noticed Mr.Cunningham’s presence within the mob.

“Hey, Mr.Cunningham. How’s your entailment gettin’ along?”

Mr.Cunningham wore no hat, exposing the half of his white forehead in contrast with his sun-burnt face.

“Don’t you remember me, Mr.Cunningham? I’m Jean Louise Finch. You brought us some hickory nuts one time, remember? I go to school with Walter, he’s your boy, ain’t he? Ain’t he, sir?”

Mr. Cunningham nodded.

“He’s in my grade, and he does right well. He’s a good boy, a real nice boy. We brought him home for dinner one time. Maybe he told you about me, I beat him up one time but he was real nice about it. Tell him hey for me, won’t you?”

I didn’t understand what Scout was trying to do, but it seemed to work alright. Everyone seemed to be surprised at how confident Scout appeared while exposing Mr.Cunninghma in front of everyone. Most faces were filled with a sense of pity for Mr.Cunningham, who seemed very ashamed of himself.

“Well, Atticus, I was just sayin’ to Mr.Cunningham that entailments are bad an’ all that but you said not to worry, it takes a long time sometimes… that you all’d ride it out together…”

I noticed Scout was beginning to feel uncomfortable.

“What’s the matter?”

She received no answer. Then, something really unexpected happened, Mr.Cunnighmam squatted down and took Scout by both shoulders.

“I’ll tell him you said hey, little lady.”

Mr.Cunnigham straightened up, “Let’s clear out. Let’s get going, boys.”

I felt relieved and turned to look at Atticus who was leaning with his face against the jail’s wall. The ambient became more peaceful as those guys went further and further. That mob was simply comprised of individuals with mob mentality, who followed every decision taken by other members of their small group because they knew that they were better and more secure altogether than by themselves where they would get all of the blame for their actions. Mr.Cunningham was just one more of those individuals, but instead, he had taken a more merciful and human decision.

 

 

 

To Kill A Mockingbird Readers Response

Are there some fights you can have with friends that make it impossible to remain friends? What types of fights are those? What does it say about Atticus that he doesn’t view the insults he receives for defending Tom Robinson as reason enough to end any friendships? How can you respond when friends or family members express views that you find abhorrent?

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Two friends after having fought with each other.

“This time we aren’t fighting the Yankees, we’re fighting our friends. But remember this, no matter how bitter things get, they’re still our friends and this is still our home.” This was said by Atticus Finch, a fictitious character in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill A Mockingbird (chapter 9,  pages 101-102). Often referred to as Atticus, this character is one recognized for his wisdom, intelligence, and passion for justice. He often receives insults for defending Tom Robinson, a humble black man who is accused of raping a white girl. For this, Atticus is constantly referred to as a nigger-lover, even by the people he could have considered his friends, but even though he knows the offensiveness of the term he doesn’t consider it reason enough to end any of his friendships. I believe that the reason why Atticus doesn’t consider the constant use of this offensive term towards him enough to end any of his friendships is because he knows that many of his friends are quite ignorant, and only know what they were taught since a young age; that white supremacy should exist and blacks are untrustworthy and unworthy.

I believe that fights with friends can be normal and after fixing your differences can make your bond even stronger, but I also believe that some fights can make it impossible to remain friends. I believe that those kinds of fights are ones that involve very personal things, things that you thought you could trust them with, and later find out that they used them behind your back to make you look bad and feel terrible. After those fights, it is almost impossible to win back trust and it makes it very unlikely to remain friends. Another example of this type of fights is when they involve your family. After a friend has insulted your family very terribly, it is very unlikely that those severe wounds will heal, and that your bond will ever be the same.

I think that in order to prevent this types of fights, especially when friends or even family members express thoughts or views that you consider abhorrent, is to respond to them in a respectful manner, to tell them that you respect their point of view but you disagree with them, and because you respect their perspective they should respect yours. I believe this is the best way to avoid these conflicts.

Links to my other journal entries:

Journal Entry #1

Journal Entry #2

Journal Entry #3

Journal Entry #5

Journal Entry #3

Nigger-Lover An Infuriating Term Used By Trashy People?

What does being a “nigger-lover” mean to the residents of Maycomb? Why is this a powerful insult?

Atticus and Scout Finch in the movie To Kill A Mockingbird.

Nigger-lover, a term aimed at white people who lacked the “necessary” feeling of intense dislike for blacks. This term was always used and perceived in a very offensive manner by many, with the exception of Atticus Finch, a fictitious character in To Kill A Mockingbird. Atticus defines this term as one with no meaning; one which is only used by trashy people who believe someone is favoring a “negro” even above themselves. “… it’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.” States Atticus in pages 144-145, demonstrating his very rare way of perceiving this offensive term, especially while being a white southern citizen.

Maycomb’s residents, and even Atticus’s own children, Jem and Scout, don’t react to this offensive term with the same tranquility and tolerance their father does, instead, they perceive and react negatively to the offensiveness of the term. On page 112, Scout hits her cousin, Francis, after he called Atticus a nigger-lover, and on page 137, Jem cuts off the tops of every camellia flower in Ms.Dubose’s garden due to the same reason. This clearly demonstrates that the way in which the word is said, and even the word itself is meant to hurt and infuriate people, and is very effective in doing so.

This insult can be considered powerful due to its context, and how blacks weren’t seen as equals, but instead as inferiors, thieves, and every bad attribute that could be found in society itself. This insult might also be considered powerful because it had the ability to persuade many individuals in excluding from social activities and to treat as outsiders the people addressed as “nigger-lovers” since they were basically betraying the community’s beliefs on white supremacy.

In conclusion, the term nigger-lover is a term meant to infuriate people and cause them to become outsiders within society, but even though it is meant to infuriate, it does not have the same effect on everybody due to the different interpretations of its meaning.

Journal Entry #2

Terminology and its Evolution

The power and meaning of terms, especially derogatory terms, have always been present during our lifetime and within books. To Kill A Mockingbird is no exception, and derogatory terms towards the black community are very evident. The terms nigger, nigga, negro, and colored, are always used to refer to the black community. The use of these terms was seen very casual during the 1930’s, but in actuality these terms are seen as offensive, making people uncomfortable while reading this novel. This has caused the book to be banned countless times, most frequently in the Biloxi School District in Mississippi.

One of the terms most frequently used in this novel is nigger. This term of exclusion was constantly used and helped strengthen the stereotype of all blacks being lazy, stupid, dirty, and worthless. This word started being used during the 1800’s, more specifically during the slave trade; it was used to refer to slaves in a derogatory manner. This word has various variations such as nigga which has the same meaning as the nigger and is mostly used by the black community. There is also the term nigger-lover, which is a name aimed at whites lacking the “necessary” feeling of intense dislike for blacks. After many years and movements to call for an end to segregation and white supremacy, this term is now considered the ultimate American insult, and unacceptable to be said in the present.

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Cartoon of a black man that reinforces the stereotype of all blacks being stupid, dirty, worthless, and criminals.

The term negro is constantly used throughout the novel as well. It is used to describe an individual of a dark-skinned ethnicity and is also a variation of the word “nigger”. It was seen as normal for black people to be called negroes, and blacks even identified themselves with the term. It wasn’t until 1966 when people began to abstain from using that term. Stokely Carmichael, a black man who is now known as an important figure in the Civil Rights movement, was the cause of the drop of the usage of this term since he put into words the phrase “black power” in a rally in Mississippi in 1966. By using this phrase Carmichael persuaded that the term “negro” implied black inferiority, but the term was still preferred by more than two-thirds of black Americans until 1974 when “black” became the preference by the dark-skinned population.

Sign for the Lonestar Restaurant in Texas that reaffirms discrimination against blacks, otherwise addressed as negroes, by not allowing their entrance.

Black American citizens addressing themselves as “negroes” in 1964 while fighting for their basic right to vote.

While reading Harper Lee’s novel, it can also be found the usage of the word “colored”. This term was mostly used in the twentieth century and was seen as a polite way to call black people back then, but in actuality, it is not well seen. During the 1960s, many black leaders saw the term “colored” as an accumulation of the terrible treatment their ethnicity had received under slavery and the Jim Crow; the term was started to be seen as a link to segregation. This lead to the decline of its usage in the 1970s, when the word was not constantly used in daily conversation or vocabulary.

Usage of the term “colored” to refer to black citizens and separate them from white American civilians and facilities during the Jim Crow era.

All of these terms had power, and could influence people and their perception of others as it is seen in To Kill A Mockingbird. In this novel, all of these terms represented the quality of education an individual had received and could cause people to become outsiders as seen with Atticus, Jem, and Scout after Atticus being accused of being a nigger-lover. These terms will always be remembered, and even though they may cause people to feel uncomfortable should be taught since they were used in the past and caused lots of suffering. Teaching them and learning about the suffering and the obnoxious world this terms caused, is the only way to prevent what happened from occurring again.

1st Journal Entry

The Ideal Southern Girl

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Typical southern girls playing on the porch with a wax doll.

What comprised the image of an ideal girl during the 1930’s? Well, it was definitely not pants, misbehavior, and “improper” language. No, the ideal southern girl was one who wore skirts and dresses; it was one who was polite and had manners. During the 1930’s, girls and women had to live their lives based on the expectations the community had for how they dressed, the language they used, and the activities they did. Even though the 1930’s was a decade of evolution for many women after gaining the ability to vote in the 1920’s, many of these customs were still present and are quite evident in Harper Lee’s masterpiece, To Kill A Mockingbird.

Scout, the protagonist of To Kill A Mockingbird, is presented as a girl with a tomboyish behavior. She gets into fights, is misbehaved, and doesn’t use language considered proper for a girl. It was expected that girls would play with baby dolls and bridal dolls; that they had tea and dress-up parties. It was seen improper for them to participate in rough games, something that Scout is very much involved in.

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Scout beats up Walter Cunningham in the movie To Kill A Mockingbird after blaming him for getting her in trouble during class. 

In the book, The Charm of Fine Manners written by Helen Ekin Starrett, the expectation for girls in the South are quite evident. The behavior of girls and women were seen as obnoxious and disagreeable if they demonstrated forwardness, boldness, and pertness; if they spoke loudly, and expressed their opinions towards everything with lots of self-confidence. These uncommon girls would usually attract lot’s of attention and disgust from the society, something that might happen to Scout due to her self-confidence while expressing her opinions, and bold behavior.

Furthermore, in an interview that took place in 1993, three women talked about their childhood and their experience of growing up in the south of the United States in the 1930’s. They were asked if they remembered a special dress code for little girls, and most of them responded to that question referring to the use of trousers (jeans) in comparison to the use of dresses. Mary Ann, one of the three women interviewed said, “We were definitely not allowed to wear pants to school.” Adding on to that, Cecil, another of the women interviewed, stated that wearing blue jeans was seen as informal, and represented poor taste, especially when worn by a girl. In addition, they also discussed the importance of footwear, and how they weren’t allowed to go barefoot anywhere since that was seen as pitiful.

In the interview, the importance of proper language was also discussed. The three women were asked if there was a special code of behavior for little girls who were expected to grow up to be southern ladies. They immediately answered that girls weren’t supposed to fight or resort to violence while boys could, instead, they were supposed to solve their issues with speech. As well, they were never allowed to use coarse words, and in order to do that they were never allowed to hear them, and most of them never did until they were full grown adults.

The gender norms established during the 1930’s set up expectations for how girls and women dressed, the language they used, and how they behaved. Scout, the protagonist of To Kill A Mockingbird, challenges these norms with her bold attitude, how she dresses, and how she speaks. As a result, this makes me wonder how will her behavior be seen by the small town she lives in, and how this might affect her developing identity.

Book Banning

Should book banning ever be acceptable? Well, in my opinion it should never be since it is violating the first amendment of human rights which deals with freedom of expression, and the right of every citizen to express their thoughts. This right has been already challenged, due to the fact that different people have different perspectives on issues, making them have different interpretations of the text and themes included in books, causing individuals to challenge novels and later maybe even ban them.

Schools have been a major source of book banning since they usually ban books they believe are against their ideologies, and might have a “negative” impact on their students. Whether this is acceptable or not depends on the perspective of the individual, but in my opinion this should never happen since it deprives students of gaining knowledge, especially by discussing themes or content that are controversial and might generate a life-changing lesson.

I also disagree with parents as taxpayers and funders of public libraries having the right to choose what books libraries provide, since as stated by Sherman Alexie in the video Sherman Alexie talks to ABFFE about Censorship, “… you know I feel it’s part of their right to decide what their children read, but they don’t get to decide what other children read, they don’t get to decide what a community reads…” This further proves my point since it demonstrates how even though parents might be able to censor the books their children read, they should not have a say on what others read since it would be depriving many other individuals of possible life lessons and teachings the books might have. It is basically depriving knowledge just because of a person’s opinion, which is totally unfair.

There has also been stated to be a line that defines what an author is allowed and isn’t allowed to write about. This is totally ridiculous since it contradicts the first amendment of human rights, depriving authors their right of freedom of speech. Books are considered to cross “the line” when they challenge authorities and ideologies, or “if they deal with issues the government considers sensitive,” as stated in the video No let-up in Jordan’s book censorship policy. This line varies depending on the community and the person, but in my opinion it does not exist since all topics should be able to be discussed even though they might cause discomfort and controversy.

In conclusion, book banning is ridiculous, and a violation of the first amendment of human rights which clearly states every individual should have the right to share their opinion through freedom of speech. Book banning apart of being ridiculous also deprives people from gaining knowledge and learning the different perspectives about a topic, denying them an option to generate their own perspectives on the world.