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Explain the satire that Lee uses in Chapter 24 of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

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sunnygirl | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 14, 2008 at 12:57 AM via web

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Explain the satire that Lee uses in Chapter 24 of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

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troutmiller | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted November 17, 2008 at 8:55 AM (Answer #1)

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The descriptions alone of Mrs. Merriweather are satirical.  Lee has Merriweather's "voice soar(ed) over the clink of coffee cups" as she begins her "misguided people in this town" speech.  This dainty, little, middle-aged woman is taking the stage in the very house of the man she's about to disrespect.  In fact, her racial comments about her "sulky and dissatisfied Sophie" and her comments about how Atticus is not doing the right thing by representing a man who is Black set her up to fail.  She is not only sitting next to one of Atticus' best friends (Maudie), she is in the same room as his sister and his daughter.

Lee uses this scene to show the reader how ugly racism is.  That's how she uses satire.  she takes the shortcomings of human behavior and makes fun of it--hopefully to bring about change.  Hopefully the reader sees this and agrees that Atticus is doing the right thing and Merriweather is a bigot.

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