To say that people are a part of society is completely incorrect; rather, people are society because without humans, it would not exist. Society, while frowned upon by the very people who live in it, is an important matter and should be treated as such, whether in politics, environmental awareness, or even in a novel. There has never been an incredible book that did not have an incredible setting. Humans are part of humanity and humans write fiction, therefore there cannot be a work of fiction that does not encase some part of civilization, be it real or fictional, historical or futuristic, lethargic or lively. World renown authors have utilized the setting of a book as a plot device to engage readers and produce unique conflicts within their stories. For instance, J.K. Rowling created Hogwarts and the Wizarding world, J.R.R. Tolkien introduced Middle Earth, Lewis Carroll amazed readers with Wonderland, and Jane Austen portrayed her personal life by setting stories in Victorian England. One of the most skillful uses of the ambience and atmosphere of a story was by Harper Lee in her To Kill a Mockingbird, in which she created the small town of Maycomb County. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, societal traditions play an integral part in defining Maycomb County, constructing unique character relationships, and creating a valid comparison to today’s civilization.
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses local color to thoroughly describe Southern culture and traditions and delineate Maycomb County as an individual Southern society. Lee took every possible opportunity to embed examples of typical Maycomb practices and heritage within her novel. Maycomb is a rural land, a small town with unspoken laws that are blindly obeyed for…
…ands for liberty and justice for all, yet many of them tend to act in a very nasty way to people who are different or do things differently. For instance, people will gladly eat at a Mexican restaurant, but then complain about Mexican people coming into the country and taking their jobs. Also, people make fun of the way East Asian people look and speak even though ninety percent of their belongings were definitely made in China. It is this commonplace discrimination, lack of respect, and ignorance that keeps America similar to Maycomb. Still, while several people have closed minds and hateful words to spew, Americans continue to work toward a more equal nation every day and it is this effort that paints a brighter tomorrow in which racism and discrimination is a thing of the past.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: HarperCollins, 2002. Print