How does gender play a role in the plot?
In To Kill a Mockingbird, the theme of gender and gender roles is important. Throughout the novel, Scout Finch is forced to define gender roles. As a young girl who prefers “boy things,” Scout comes to the conclusion that masculinity is positive and femininity is negative. This notion is bolstered by the role models in her family: her father Atticus and her brother Jem, as well as her detested Aunt Alexandra. Scout, the younger sister, is easily convinced by Jem to go along with his plan whenever he simply critiques her for being “like a girl.” Certain adults, especially Aunt Alexandra, critique her for being unladylike. These dynamics speak to the power differential inherent in gender roles. The position of Mayella Ewell also demonstrates this. She is a powerless figure, and her abuse at her father’s hands is a significant representation of gendered power.