How is fear used in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?For example, fear is used to scare the children from the Radley place; fear is used to intimidate Atticus in the scene at the jail (the...

How is fear used in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

For example, fear is used to scare the children from the Radley place; fear is used to intimidate Atticus in the scene at the jail (the "mob"; fear is used in the trial. (mayella's fear of atticus/ tom/ father)

Asked on by tkambidp

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Fear is used to show narrow-mindedness and ignorance.  The children are only afraid of the Radley house when they are ignorant of the true nature of Arthur Radley; as long as he's "Boo", he's a feared entity.  When Scout, through her simple recognition of Walter Cunningham, Sr., breaks a mob down to individula people.  They were no longer a group with the power to intimidate; they were individuals whose connection was their ignorance.   The ignorance shown by the Ewells in their hatred of blacks is actually a fear - the Ewells fear what they do not know.  The same is true for many of the people in the town and countryside around Maycomb: they fear what they don't understand and they don't understand a race other than their own.  In chapter 24, when the women at Aunt Alexandra's tea discuss their "coloreds" and how they now fear them, it is ignorance speaking.  Mayella is afraid of Atticus because she is not accustomed to anyone treating her with respect. Harper Lee wants the reader to see that once ignorance is removed, so is fear.

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