Samantha CabralMs. McLainHonors English 912 January 2018The Influence of Society Society is a community of people living in a particular country or region who share customs, laws, and organizations. In To Kill a Mockingbird, the town of Maycomb County treats blacks poorly and is made up of many different high and low social classes. Society influences and shapes the characters in the novel, Tom Robinson, Mayella Ewell, and Scout both positively and negatively by using one’s race and social status.
In the novel, the character, Tom Robinson was influenced by society because of his race as he is treated unfairly. Tom Robinson’s boss, Link Deas, describes Tom at the trial when he is accused of rapeing a white women. For example, Link characterizes Tom as being a good person as he states how, “That boys worked for me eight years and I ain’t had a speck of trouble out of him.
” (Lee 195) This shows how Link thinks Tom is a good man, hard worker, and a trustworthy employee. Link being a white man, shows how Tom was respectful towards other races. Another example is how Tom is being described of how he changed after the trial, “They said he just broke into a blind raving charge at the fence and started climbing over.” (Lee 235) This suggests that Tom Robinson believed that running was his only way out of the accusations since he felt that no one would ever believe a colored man. This also shows how Tom changed from a high minded man to a carefree man who lost all hope due to the accusations that were false. He wound up losing his life when trying to escape because he knew society would never let him free and live normal life due to his race.
In conclusion, Tom Robinson was badly influenced by society because of people judging him by his race rather than using the facts said in his trial. The novel’s society influenced and affected Mayella Ewell because of her low social status. For example, during the trial another character named Scout, states how “Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world. She was even lonelier than Boo Radley, who had not been out of the house in twenty-five years. “(Lee 256) This shows that Mayella has had a lonely miserable life as she has no friends or anyone to talk to, this is mainly because of her dad Bob Ewell. Bob is a drunk with many kids that he does not support. This causes both the blacks and whites to despise her and her siblings. For instance, during the trial Atticus is trying to teach the jury about Mayella’s home life as her words cause “the jury (to learn) the following things: their relief check was far from enough to feed the family, and their was strong suspicion that Papa drank it away.
“(Lee 244) This demonstrates that Mayella simply accused Tom so society would be sympathetic towards her as she was the only one in her family that worked because they were very poor. Society judges her by her Dad and his actions, even though she’s nothing like him. To conclude, Mayella Ewell was affected by society because of her social status due to her family causing her to act out.In the novel, Scout was influenced by racism and people’s social status within the town of Maycomb County.
For example, in the beginning, Scout tells Atticus about her rude teacher hoping she won’t have to go the next day, but then Atticus explains “You never really understand a person until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.”(Lee 31) This shows that Scout in the beginning of the novel does not understand the city of Maycomb and how it works. Maycomb’s society is broken up into social classes having blacks be at the very bottom. These words from Atticus stick with Scout causing her to follow Atticus’s advice throughout the novel. For instance, at the trial Scout says, “I mean in Maycomb County the thing about it is our kind of folks don’t like the Cunninghams, the Cunninghams don’t like the Ewells, and the Ewells hate and despise the colored folks.
I told Jem if that was so, why didn’t Toms jury, made up of folks like the Cunninghams, acquit Tom’s jury to spite the Ewells.” (Lee 303) This demonstrates how Scout is beginning to realize how the world works around her. She wonders why the Cunninghams didn’t acquit Tom to get the Ewells mad because that’s what people in Maycomb do to each other. This is a sign that Scout has changed from the beginning from being carefree and confused to being in the middle of everything and really intelligent. Scout was influenced by society in a good way because she was able to realize and understand how Maycomb is divided among the people’s social status and color.
In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Maycomb County treats blacks unfairly and has many different social statuses. The society that is present influences and shapes every character in diverse ways as some were positively influenced and others were negatively influenced. Tom Robinson and Mayella Ewell were badly affected as Tom lost his life and Mayella got herself caught in lies although she was able to show the city of Maycomb her true character.
Scout was affected as she was enlightened on how the county works due to the social classes that are present. In conclusion, these diverse statuses among the people in Maycomb County heavily influence the characters in this novel.