What are six quotes in chapters 7–11 of To Kill a Mockingbird that show examples of marginalization?

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kate333 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To Kill a Mockingbird covers a wide spectrum of marginalization, including marginalization based on race, gender, social status, and association with other marginalized groups. Chapters 7–11 have examples of many different kinds of marginalization and reasons for that marginalization.

1. "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win" (Chapter 9). This quote is from Atticus Finch and has to do with the fight against marginalization. He is pointing out that the system of marginalization is so ingrained in society that trying to fight that system is nearly impossible, but it is still important to fight for what is right.

2. "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don't pretend to understand" (Chapter 9). This is another quote from Atticus Finch addressing the marginalization and prejudice against African Americans. This quote shows that racism and marginalization are so deeply ingrained in the system that even people who are reasonable in the rest of their lives have extreme reactions to issues that have to do with marginalized groups, in this case, African Americans.

3. "My folks said your daddy was a disgrace and that n****r oughta hang up from the water tank!" (Chapter 9). This quote is from Cecil Jacobs and is very telling about marginalization based on association. When Atticus agrees to defend Tom Robinson, both he and his family face backlash from the community because Atticus is daring to defend an African American against a white man. Even though Atticus and his family are not part of a marginalized group, their association with one is enough to marginalize them.

4. "You mean that little runt Grandma says stays with Miss Rachel every summer? . . . Grandma says he hasn't got a home . . . He just gets passed around from relative to relative, and Miss Rachel keeps him every summer" (Chapter 9). This quote is from Francis, Scout's cousin, in response to her declaring that she is going to marry Dill when they grow up. This is an example of marginalization based on social status; Dill is considered lesser because he doesn't have a permanent home or family unit. 

5. "What are you doing in those overalls? You should be in a dress and camisole, young lady! You'll grow up waiting on tables if someone doesn't change your ways!" (Chapter 11). This quote is from Mrs. Dubose, directed at Scout. Scout's tomboyish appearance is addressed multiple times in the novel, but this is one example of how she is judged and marginalized for her unladylike appearance. Mrs. Dubose essentially tells her that if she does not dress according to the standards of society for a lady, that she will grow up in a lesser social position (waiting tables).

6. " 'Scout,' said Atticus, 'n****r lover is just one of those terms that don't mean anything—like snot-nose. Its hard to explain—ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody's favoring negroes over and above themselves. It slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody,"(Chapter 11). Atticus gives this speech to Scout following Scout telling Atticus what Cecil Jacobs said about him in the schoolyard. This goes further into marginalization by association and shows Scout that it doesn't matter what people say as long as they know that they are doing the right thing.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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