To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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What are examples of diction in To Kill A Mockingbird?

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Diction can be defined as the style of speaking or writing that is determined by the word choice of the author. Throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee's use of diction characterizes various community members of Maycomb and differentiates.

In chapter 3, Burris Ewell is asked to leave the school in order to bathe himself after a cootie crawls out of his hair. Burris hails from an uneducated country home, which is viewed with contempt throughout the community. His informal, colloquial diction reveals his background and lack of education. When Miss Caroline tells him to wash his hair with lye soap, he responds, "What fer, missus?" (Lee, 27).

In chapter 9, the audience is introduced to Uncle Jack, who visits Maycomb for the Finch family's Christmas get-together. Unlike many of the characters in the novel, Uncle Jack is an educated man, who uses formal diction when he speaks. By using the word "invective" to describes Scout's offensive expressions, Uncle Jack demonstrates his knowledge and wide vocabulary. He tells Atticus,

"Her use of bathroom invective leaves nothing to the imagination. But she doesn’t know the meaning of half she says..." (Lee,...

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