Which characters are the victims of stereotyping in To Kill a Mockingbird?
In To Kill a Mockingbird Many of the characters in the novel are depicted by the author as classifying each other according to rigid categories. They hold stereotypes about how individuals will behave as a result of their age, gender, race, social status, and other fixed categories. Which characters are the vitims of stereotyping? Do any of them break through the behavior expected of them, showing individuality and exposing the falseness of narrowly labeling people?
FRANCIS. I find Jem and Scout's cousin Francis a stereotypical spoiled brat. Francis is actually Aunt Alexandra's grandson--Atticus' great-nephew--although he is about the same age as Jem and Scout. His parents apparently leave him with Alexandra quite often, not unlike the manner in which Dill is disposed by his parents. Francis is a smart-mouthed, foul-mouthed boy who delights in aggravating Scout. He repeats the unfriendly comments made by his parents concerning Atticus (being a "nigger-lover") and seems to have none of the free-thinking independence and imagination of his cousins. He is fairly one-dimensional and because his character is not particularly well-developed, Francis becomes a stereotypical spoiled brat with a foul mouth and rotten ethical values.
I believe Mayella is the victim of stereotyping. She might be labeled as "poor white trash." Although this has grown a very negative connotation today, each descriptor taken alone, is just a description of the situation she was born into. She is a victim of her enviornment and is likely bound by a controlling father.
Because of this, in her testimony, Atticus draws forth her possible desire to break free from that world. She shows a specific individuality that sets her apart from the welfare status, uneducated mentality of creating household items out of trash from the dump. She grows geraniums. Scout noted that these flowers look fit for Miss Maudie's garden.
She stays true to her stereotype most of the time, but I don't think it is because she wants to, it's because her father demands it.