Expectations– to Eliminate a Mockingbird
The following essay is based on the theme of “Expectations” in the novel ‘To Eliminate a Mockingbird’. The unique set throughout the 1930’s depression in Maycomb south Alabama is based upon the lack of knowledge and bias present in society. The style of ‘expectations’ is an important concept which impacts the events that occur throughout the book. Social expectations were rigidly promoted in Southern Alabama in the 1930’s. These expectations identified what behaviours were appropriate for males and females, Caucasians and Negros and different economic classes in society.
The social setting in Maycomb County has a profound effect on the expectations in the novel. At first, all people of Maycomb learn about each other’s background and upbringing for instance the expectations from families like the Ewells and Cunninghams. An example of this in the novel is when Scout attends her first day of school; Scout’s teacher Miss Caroline, uses Walter Cunningham a quarter when he doesn’t bring any lunch. Nevertheless, Walter does not take the quarter as he’s a Cunningham and they do not take what they can not pay back; instead agreeing what they have.
Scout attempts to describe this to Miss Caroline who was not acquainted with certain Maycombian ways. A rigid social stratification of Maycomb County based upon race, background and gender also has an extensive result on events in the book. Because of the background, training, attitudes and behaviours of various individuals in Maycomb; it is expected that they would belong to a certain social class. ‘You know something Scout? I have actually got all determined, now. I’ve thought about it a lot lately and I have actually got it figured out. There’s 4 sort of folks worldwide.
There’s the normal kind like us and the neighbours, there’s the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells down at the dump, and the Negroes.’ (Chapter 23, 249) Different social classes in Maycomb had various expectations, for instance it was expected that a jury would convict a Negro of being guilty when his word broke a Caucasians, even if that Caucasian was of the most affordable class in society– trash. During Tom Robinson’s trial, the strong bias of Maycomb County and the unfavorable effects of its social stratification were clearly demonstrated.
Whilst Tom Robinson is innocent of the crime of rape, he offered the Caucasians more reason to convict him on the basis of bold to pity a Caucasian– it is not anticipated that a negro (thought about as being a part of the lowest class of society, occasion lower than the ‘white trash’) might pity a Caucasian and the Caucasians might not accept such a presumption. […] ‘You’re a might good fellow, it seems– did all this for not one penny?’ ‘Yes suh. I felt best sorry for her, she appeared to try more ‘n the rest of ’em -‘ ‘You pitied her, you felt sorry for her? ‘Mr Gilmer appeared ready to rise to the ceiling. The witness recognized his mistake and moved annoyingly in the chair. However the damage was done. Listed below us, nobody liked Tom Robinson’s response. Mr Gilmer stopped briefly for a very long time to let it sink in.’ (Chapter 19, page 218) Although there were doubts regarding Bob Ewell’s statement and Atticus pleads the jury to give Tom equal standing under the eyes of the law, the jury still convicts Tom as being guilty to rape of Mayella Ewell.
This cause Jem’s mistrust in the legal system as Jem was old adequate to comprehend the events that were happening, but he wasn’t old sufficient to understand the thinking behind Tom’s conviction as nothing has yet disrupted Jem’s thinking process– simply put Jem was still ‘innocent’. ‘I do not understand, but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did tonight and they’ll do it once again and when they do it– appears that only children weep.’ (Chapter 22, page 235) […] ‘If you had actually been on that jury, kid, and eleven other boys like you, Tom would be a totally free man,’ said Atticus. So far nothing in your life has actually interfered with your reasoning procedure. Those are twelve reasonable men in daily life, Tom’s jury however you saw something come in between them and reason …’ (Chapter 23, page 243) The actuality that a Caucasian was willing to protect a Negro whilst pleading for tolerance lead to displeasure amongst the residents of Maycomb as they saw Atticus as being non-conformist which was not anticipated from the uppermost Caucasian class of society.
Because of an outrage toward Tom Robinson’s defence the occasions that happened through the novel as an outcome included the behaviour of the lynch mob which attempted to trigger harm to Tom Robinson at Maycomb County jail and latter involved the maliciously callous attack on Scout and Jem by the malicious character Bob Ewell. Gender roles are also associated with expectations, for instance Auntie Alexandra continuously expected Scout to behave in the conventional role of a ‘correct Southern lady’.
Aunt Alexandra anticipated Scout to take part in ladylike activities, which involved playing with little ranges, tea sets and adorning herself in jewellery which she need to be a ray of sunlight in her daddy’s lonesome life. Auntie Alexandra does not approve of Scout’s outfit comprising of pants and breeches, and instead expects Scout to wear woman like manner. In the unique Scout discusses her aggravation at being expected to wear cumbersome skirts rather than trousers and bridges because of social expectations.
This highlights the way that at this time, expectations of men and women remained much divided, with females’s functions being restricted to being elegant and elegant in way. The roles of women in Maycomb were specified by custom such as a lack of females with an expert status and ladies serving on a jury in the book. Scout has problem with the expectation of fitting into the mould of an appropriate Southern lady.
According to Auntie Alexandra Scout had to behave like a sunbeam in order to be a ray of sunlight suggesting that Scout needed to act in a woman like way, which she was born ‘great’ but had actually grown gradually worse every year. Unlike Auntie Alexandra, Miss Maudie is a perfect good example for Scout as she also defies some of their society’s expectations and maintains her uniqueness as a Southern lady.
In contrast to Aunt Alexandra, Atticus did not have the same expectation that Scout act in a ladylike way although both Atticus and Aunt Alexandra grew up with the same values instilled in them on Finches Landing; Atticus didn’t mind Scout the method she was. To conclude, the style of ‘expectations’, describes the elements of powerful styles such as bigotry, prejudice, inequality, growing up, point of views, class divide/ structure, raising kids and gender roles which are depicted through the events that happen in the book.
The expectations of men and women, Caucasians and Negros and different economic classes in Maycomb, substantially contribute to the events that occur throughout the novel. Harper Lee efficiently represents the style of ‘expectations’ in the book which positions the reader to see the affect of this theme on the plot and characters, mainly during Tom Robinson’s trial and the maturation of Scout and Jem.