The story under analysis is the excerpt from the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, that’s why it has not a special title. The title of the whole book is thought-provoking and idiomatic; it makes the reader wonder what a Mockingbird is and who is supposed to kill it.
The subject matter of the story is racial discrimination, corruption of the court system in the American world of prejudice. This extract depicts a trial of Tom Robinson, a Negro, who is in the criminal dock on a capital charge of assaulting a white girl. His defending counsel Atticus Finch is an experienced lawyer and progressive minded man.
It is the Atticus’s speech to the jury that takes the best part of the ...view middle of the document...
When speaking about the personages’ characteristics, it can be mentioned that the main character is characterized both directly and contextually (indirectly). Besides, the main character’s personality is revealed through his speech.
There is only one example of direct characterization found in this excerpt - “Atticus wasn't a thunderer”. The story-teller also characterizes Atticus through his actions, as in the sentences: Atticus did something I never saw him do before or since, in public or in private: he unbuttoned his vest, unbuttoned his collar, loosened his tie, and took off his coat. He never loosened a scrap of his clothing until he undressed at bedtime, and to Jem and me, this was fee equivalent of him standing before us stark naked. Then he took off his glasses and wiped them, and we saw another "first": we had never seen him sweat — he was one of those men whose face! never perspired, but now it was shining tan.
These statements characterize Atticus as a steady, self-possessed man. His personality is also revealed through his speech. The fact that he uses long complicated sentences with both composite and complex clauses, bookish words and refined language characterizes him as a very intelligent and smart person and an experienced lawyer. He took up this case – to defend a Negro – in spite of all prejudice against black people, and this fact tells that he is a progressive-minded man with humane views.
And now I would like to speak on the lexical and stylistic devices the author uses in the text. I would like to start with syntactical stylistic devices. The author uses a number of parallel constructions, such as anaphora (she was breaking, she persisted in breaking it. She persisted…: "Gentlemen…"Gentlemen," he was saying.; that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women, an assumption one associates with minds of their caliber…; some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women…; who has never told a lie, who has never done an immoral thing, and there is no man living who has never looked upon a woman without desire.; some people are, smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they're born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cakes than others — some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of most men).
Besides, there are examples of epiphora, such as in the sentences: She tempted a Negro. "She was white, and she tempted a Negro…; he swore out a warrant, no doubt signing it with his left hand, and Tom Robinson now sits before you, having taken the oath with the only good hand he possesses — his right hand.
Not only that, but also the author uses such a stylistic device as anadiplosis, for example, We do know in part what Mr Ewell did: he did what…; she has merely broken a rigid and time-honored code of, our society, a code so severe…; A court is...