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How Does Harper Lee Use Minor Characters In To Kill A Mockingbird To Explore Some Of The Main Concerns In The Novel?

1011 words - 5 pages

How does Harper Lee use minor characters in To Kill a Mockingbird to explore some of the main concerns in the novel?-----------------------------------Harper Lee uses minor characters in a variety of different ways to help explore and expose some of the main concerns brought up in the book, ranging from strict town morals, justice, all the way to racism and death due to racism. I have chosen to outline some of the ways in which Harper Lee uses three minor characters, Mayella Ewell, Heck Tate and Dolfus Raymond, to help emphasise and explore some of the major concerns in the book.Mayella Ewell is the first minor character I shall discuss; a beacon of racial prejudice and the injustice of the ...view middle of the document...

Despite Mayella's story falling apart under cross-examination Tom's version of what happened isn't taken note of, as he is black.Also in this case, we have the testimonial of the local sheriff Heck Tate; he too is a tool of great injustice for the blacks. In his testimony we read that he was called by Bob Ewell and told that "some nigger'd raped his girl" upon arrival he found Mayella and asked who had done it - Tom Robinson. A black man accused by a white woman, Heck went and rounded him up instantly to be identified by Mayella. No questioning, no looking for evidence or any kind of service a white man could expect, Heck presumes that he is black and therefore must have committed some kind of crime.However, despite Heck's injustice towards the black population of Maycomb he does fulfil his duties to the white. After Boo stabs Bob to save Atticus' children Heck decides that for the greater good nothing should be said and the incident should be considered an accidental suicide. Heck shields the town from the truth and allows Boo to go back to his normal life - after all he had done the town a favour.Another man who shields the town from the truth, but about a very different subject is Dolphus Raymond, a presumed evil alcoholic who spends most of his time with the black townsfolk. "Come round here, son, I got something that'll settle your stomach." Is the invitation given by...

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