Expectations - to Kill a Mockingbird

1249 words 5 pages
The following essay is based on the theme of “Expectations” in the novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. The novel set during the 1930’s depression in Maycomb south Alabama is based upon the ignorance and prejudice present in society. The theme of ‘expectations’ is an imperative motif which affects the events that occur throughout the novel. Social expectations were rigidly upheld in Southern Alabama in the 1930’s. These expectations determined what behaviours were acceptable for men and women, Caucasians and Negros and different economic classes in society.
The social setting in Maycomb County has a profound effect on the expectations in the novel. Initially, all individuals of Maycomb know about each other’s background and upbringing for
…show more content…

They’ve done it before and they did tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it – seems that only children weep.’ (Chapter 22, page 235)
[…] ‘If you had been on that jury, son, and eleven other boys like you, Tom would be a free man,’ said Atticus. ‘So far nothing in your life has interfered with your reasoning process. Those are twelve reasonable men in everyday life, Tom’s jury but you saw something come between them and reason…’ (Chapter 23, page 243)
The actuality that a Caucasian was willing to defend a Negro whilst pleading for tolerance lead to displeasure amongst the citizens of Maycomb as they saw Atticus as being non-conformist which was not expected from the uppermost Caucasian class of society. Because of an outrage toward Tom Robinson’s defence the events that occurred through the novel as a result involved the behaviour of the lynch mob which attempted to cause harm to Tom Robinson at Maycomb County jail and latter involved the maliciously callous attack on Scout and Jem by the malevolent character Bob Ewell.
Gender roles are also associated with expectations, for instance Aunt Alexandra constantly expected Scout to behave in the traditional role of a ‘proper Southern lady’. Aunt Alexandra expected Scout to engage in ladylike activities, which involved playing with small stoves, tea sets and adorning herself in jewellery and that she should be a ray of sunshine in her father’s lonesome life. Aunt Alexandra does not approve of Scout’s attire