There are many controversial novels that have been written and published throughout time; most of those were captivating, insightful and breathe-taking. Such novels always touch on significant and important controversial factors such as the portrayal of certain group, or hate crimes. But, the peculiar combination in a novel is when a family novel touches and illustrates a numerous amount of controversial factors in society. Such controversial factors may exist to this day and others were long dead.
The novel that includes this very combination is the respectable Pulitzer Prize winner To Kill a Mockingbird by the magnificent and extremely talented author Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird does focus on symbolizing and illustrating many notorious things in society either contemporary or not. Disregarding the mesmerizing plot of the novel, we can state that the author, Harper Lee, mainly focuses on signifying culture and society at that time which explains the fact that the novel had been numerously challenged by organizations and others to be removed from libraries or other places where the novel is obtainable and available to the people.
In my opinion, the elements of this very book that touch on controversial issues are rape or other hate crimes, racist stereotypes, black discrimination and most fundamental of all, the class system in Maycomb. I see that all of these controversial elements are very insightful and captivating due to the fact that they are seen from a perspective of a little girl which shows how wrong these things; other than that, because they generally raise awareness about such fundamental things.
The very first point that is going to be thoroughly discussed and analyzed is going to be the portrayal of black people as oppressed and showing indirect racism towards the African Americans of Maycomb at the time the novel was set. There are two perspectives that this element of the novel can be analyzed with and used to explain the purpose of placing this controversial factor in this fascinating novel. The very first perspective is awareness; the element of illustrating the black people in Maycomb as oppressed and discriminated can be used to make awareness to the reader.
This can ensure that the reader or the audience will be told and explained to how black people were treated at the time the novel was set in. This perspective raises awareness for the audience and the readers of what used to happen in the US or in certain parts at that specific period of time. Another different perspective that can be used to analyze or explain this controversial and notorious factor in the novel is preventing further discrimination or showing that something should have been done.
In brief, the novel was narrated and told through the eyes of little girl; thus, the perspective and the opinion of the girl towards the Negro discrimination in Maycomb was that it had to stop, which is emotionally and mentally natural due to the fact that she is a minor and she also is the daughter of lawyer that defenses Negros. Moreover, this perspective of the movie can demonstrate how implementing this factor in the novel may have showed that things had to stop regarding the discrimination for the sake of everyone.
The third and last perspective in which this factor can be seen with is just plain racism, hate and regarding Negro discrimination as an inappropriate topic to be writing about. Some people view the element of black people discrimination in this particular novel as Harper Lee just trying to stimulate hate, therefore they believe that this novel should have been removed from obtainable places but instead it was an awarded a Pulitzer in literature.
In conclusion, a striking statement that can be made is that the controversial and divisive element in the novel which is Negro oppression and discrimination and portraying racism towards African Americans in the 1930s helped contribute to the magnificence of the novel and showing great controversy in American literature. The second a probably most significant factor portrayed in the novel is the class system.
Without any dispute we can state that there has been a social underclass either regarding Negros or other members of society who are just plain appalling such as the Ewells or the Cunninghams. The element of having classes in this novel is very insightful and captivating, for class stimulates stereotypes and prejudice towards many people in the movie such as Negros. Lee approaches class from a more complex perspective, due to the fact that she demonstrates how issues regarding class or gender or race intensify chauvinism, bigotry and prejudice.
In general, having a social class or a class system to be more specific is socially very dangerous for it creates gaps between the people and loopholes in the concept of equality between everyone in society. In addition to creating gaps in society and the concept of equality between people, a class system also causes numerous perilous concepts in the community like stereotypes. Stereotypes are stalwartly implemented in the mentalities of members of the community in a certain area due to having a class system.
A perfect example from this phantasmagorical novel is the prejudice and stereotypes that caused the conviction of Tom Robinson; because if it wasn’t for having a class system and considering Negros a lower part of the community or the society in Maycomb Tom Robinson may have been trialed differently and the verdict may have altered paths instead of causing the death of a father, a husband and a human being.
Not only the black people in Maycomb face the set-backs and disadvantages of the class system but also the stereotypes caused by the class system affect other members of society due to their gender or age; an example is when Aunt Alexandra talks and discusses how Scout should stop playing with the boys and stay at home and wear a dress just because she is still a little girl. In brief, having a class system in any community causes the implementations of stereotypes, gaps in society due to wealth or race and loopholes in the concept of equality which is simply a social catastrophe.
Last but not least, another very insightful factor of the novel by Harper Lee that touches on contemporary culture is the loss of innocence. The title To Kill a Mockingbird itself symbolizes killing or losing innocence hence the term mockingbird which portrays innocence and good. The primary victims of losing innocence in the novel are of course the minors or the children who include, Scout Finch, Jem Finch, Dill Harris and technically Mayella Ewell. First, regarding the Finch kids; they lose innocence by getting exposed to numerous different factors of the novel such as hate crimes like rape, Negro discrimination, murder and other things.
They slowly mature through the novel and start losing the habit of playing around carelessly and freely. In contrary, as the Finch kids lose innocence and mature they also take on some responsibilities and morals. Such moral, ethics and responsibilities are like when Jem refuses to go bother Boo Radley anymore, or when he gets trusted with escorting his sister Scout to the school auditorium for her play. Another significant example is when he attempts to protect his sister from the attack of Bob Ewell at night.
We can see that Jem matures and loses innocence faster than Scout due to the fact that he is older and is a male; but other than that, an example that can prove this point is when, in the beginning of the book he breaks up the fight between Scout and Walter Cunningham and invites him to dinner. This point may be disputed due to the fact that Scout was actually beating up the boy, but losing innocence is not about violence it is about losing freedom to do things such as playing or in Scout’s case, fighting.
Moving on, regarding Dill Harris; throughout the novel he does not show any factor of losing innocence or being mature, until when he spontaneously ends up under the bed of one of the Finches due to the fact that he escaped from his step-father and travelled a very long way by himself. The act of escape and knowing where to go shows and portrays how Dill is losing innocence, but also as I said, he takes on a responsibility of going to the Finches and actually knowing where to go and how the journey can be made.
Regarding Mayella Ewell, she would have probably lost her innocence a very long time ago, but due to the fact she never leaves her house she technically is still innocent. She is not exposed to something that made her lose her innocence, but due to the activity of her hormones, she was stimulated into trying to harass which totally showed not only the loss but the destruction of her innocence and caused the death of a father, a husband, and human being.
After all these examples and evidence, I can come to conclude that the factor of the loss of innocence regarding children is fundamental and important towards understanding the message of the novel, and also that it touches on important controversial and notorious factors in our contemporary culture. Moreover, there are a lot of factors and elements in the novel that may have caused controversial tension such as Negro discrimination, social class system, loss of innocence, hate crimes and other notorious elements that were illustrated into the pages of the novel by the brilliant Harper Lee.
It is now clear that these factors of the novel are fundamental to the understanding of the novel, it is also clear that they strongly touch on controversy on contemporary and modern culture. I can come to state this piece de resistance and phantasmagorical magnum opus of literature has succeeded in portraying many notorious and captivating elements of culture on paper and other than that, it illustrates a bravura plot and that is spoken through the eyes of a little girl. Lee has done a wonderful job by portraying such events in the eyes of a little girl, other than that I can come to state that this novel is simply phantasmagorical.