How is the setting used to explore the theme of prejudice?
The setting of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in a small town in Alabama during the 1930's. During this period, Jim Crow laws were enforced to segregate African Americans and Caucasians throughout the South. Jim Crow laws restricted many civil rights by mandating that African Americans use separate public facilities. Racism was prevalent throughout the white population during this period, and discrimination against African Americans was commonplace. African Americans occupied the bottom rung of society and were treated with contempt by the majority of the population. Harper Lee chooses the fictional town of Maycomb to explore the theme of prejudice by creating characters who hold views similar to those of real Southern citizens following the period of Reconstruction. This setting allowed Harper Lee to devise situations that illuminate the Southern prejudice of the 1930's. Maycomb is an isolated, nostalgic country town that is resistant to change. Community members reminisce about the Confederacy and hold racist views. African American's rights were not fully realized until the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Harper Lee distinctly chose an instrumental time period and place to present the important precursor to the Civil Rights movement.