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One of the signs in Harper Lee's American Gothic tale occurrs in chapter 9 when Atticus is talking to Uncle Jack after the Christmas debacle at The Landing.
Scout loves her Uncle Jack and they typically have a good relationship, but this year Jack is not pleased with Scout's brazen use of bad language. He tells her he doesn't like the use of such words, "...not unless there's extreme provocation connected with 'em. I'll be here a week, and I don't want to hear any words like that while I'm here...You want to grow up to be a lady don't you?" (Lee 90).
During Christmas at The Landing, cousin Francis provokes Scout by insulting Attics; Scout responds the only way she knows how, by punching him in the face and, splitting "... my knuckle to the bone on his front teeth," (Lee 96). The whole family comes out and FrancaiS says Scout called him a "whore-lady." Scout admits her wrong-doi g but runs from Uncle Jack, but he is quicker and catches her and pins her down.
Back at home that evening, Jack and Scout make amends and Scout goes off to bed. Afterwards, Jack tells Atticus he will never have children. Atticus tells Jack, "Bad language is a stage all children go through...Hotheadednes isn't. Scout's got to learn to keep her head and soon, with what's in store for her these next few months," (Lee, 90-100). Atticus is of course referring to the impending trial of Tom Robinson.
Another example occurs in the next chapter, chapter 10. Tim Johnson is a dog who belongs to Harry Johnson, and is the, "the pet of Maycomb," (Lee 105). Notice the parallel structure of the two names Tim Johnson and Tom Robinson; I believe Lee does this purposely to underscore the dehuminization of the Black community. Tim Johnson has become infected with rabies and must be killed, he is a victim of circumstance, much like Tom. Both Tom and Tim did nothing wrong, but both end up being shot, ironically Tim is killed more humanely.
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