Written By: Nadia Alexander
Discuss the effectiveness of two or more minor characters in highlighting the issues in the novel.
In the novel,
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, many issues are raised. Lee has not raised these issues just through the major characters, but also the minor characters.
Minor characters such as; Aunt Alexandra, Tom Robinson and Mr Dolphus Raymond make these issues become apparent. The people of Maycomb are faced with these issues whether they believe it is an issue or not. These issues include racism, social classes and segregation.
Prejudice is one of the main issues in this novel. Tom Robinson - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Tom, a young Negro man doing his everyday work until
Mayella Ewell, a teenage girl tells him to help her, before she does the unthinkable.
She kisses a Negro. To cover up the evidence, Mayella lies about the incident at court and makes Tom look bad even though he hasn’t done anything. Atticus always knew that if it was a "white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins." A case that did not need evidence. A case that was purely based on race and nothing else. Tom is a character that Lee has created to make known to us the issues of race and prejudice.
Aunt Alexandra is a completely different type of person compared to her two easygoing brothers. Aunt Alexandra is a Southern woman who takes pride in her family's history. She believes that her family is at the top of the ladder and therefore does not want anyone in her family to get influenced by a lower classes behaviour.
When Scout asks Aunt Alexandra if Walter could come over sometime, Aunt Alexandra says, 'Indeed Not'. Scout asks “why can’t I?” Aunt Alexandra replies with,
“Because—he—is—trash, that's why you can't play with him. I'll not have you around him, picking up his habits and learning Lord-knows-what." This shows how protective
Aunt Alexandra is of her "class". On the other hand, you have a child's perspective.
Jem believes that there are four different classes. The highest being, “the ordinary kind like us and the neighbours”. The second highest being the Cunninghams who live in the woods and work for themselves to feed the family. Next being the Ewells who live,
“down at the dump” and the Negroes. This raises the issue of Aunt Alexandra and higher classed people grading people on their qualities and behavior.
Segregation is another issue that is in this novel. At the gala, the blacks and whites