Femininity in To Kill a Mockingbird

by Hope College English Education major, Abby LaBarge

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee portrays evident themes of racism, familial love, justice, and compassion.  One of the lesser discussed themes, however, is femininity.  In the beginning of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is determined to embrace her tomboy side for a great deal of time as she grows up, fearing any type of femininity.  She seems defiant and set against maturing into a beautiful young woman.  In her mind, boys get to have all of the fun, and girls are destined to wear dresses and do housework forever.  This could be because Scout spends a large portion of her childhood playing and going on adventures with two boys, Jem and Dill.  Together, the kids act out silly scenarios, roll down hills in tires, and make up crazy stories.  Scout seems to believe the fun will end if she lets go of her tomboy side.  Luckily, Scout is able to find some strong female role models, like Calpurnia and Miss Maudie.  She is able to observe them fight for justice, family, and even their own health and safety.  Throughout the novel, it is impressive to see Scout become more comfortable with herself and to understand the femininity and strength can coexist in an individual.


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