How is Belonging explored through people, places or culture in To Kill a Mockingbird?
My thesis statement is:
There are many elements that contribute to a sense of belonging, one can have an understanding of places and acceptance of culture but, belonging ultimately comes from the connections to other people.
This theme is pertinent to several of the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. Dill particularly suffers from a lack of belonging. His mother has little time for him, preferring to spend time for the various men in her life. Dill is sent to Maycomb to stay with his Aunt Rachel each summer, and his friendship with Jem and Scout becomes more important than any of his other relationships. Boo Radley is also an unwanted burden on his family. When his father dies, Boo's brother moves from Florida to take care of him. But nothing changes for Boo; he remains locked away in the house, and his brother picks up where his father left off, depriving Boo of his relationship with the Finch children by deliberately cementing the secret knothole. Dolphus Raymond is another example. When Raymond's fiance commits suicide after finding out about his black mistress, he retreats from white society and moves to the "other" side of town. He is scorned by Maycomb's white citizens, most of whom believe he is mentally unbalanced because of his choice of friends. Mayella Ewell is yet another character who desperately searches for a place in Maycomb's world. She is left to bring up Bob Ewell's brood of children by herself while he drinks up the family's welfare check. She is so lonely that she tries to tempt Tom Robinson--a married black man--for a simple kiss, something that she has never experienced before.