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To Kill a Mockingbird - Style

Uploaded by DMMF226 on Apr 04, 2001

The stylistic elements that an author chooses are instrumental in ensuring that the theme or tone that he or she wishes to convey is in fact conveyed to the reader. Harper Lee obviously realizes this, for in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird, [New York: Warner, 1982] 278) she wisely selects a distinctive style to relate the moving story of a young child discovering harsh truths regarding human nature

The predominant stylistic element Miss Lee uses is her diction and choice of sentence length. At the beginning of the selection, the sentences are short and simple. This syntax is especially appropriate, due to the fact that the novel is written in first person, the narrator being a six year old girl named Scout. “I never saw him again,”she says, referring to her mysteriously reclusive neighbor, Boo Radley. “We never put back into the tree what we had taken out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad.” Here, Lee takes on the persona of a child by using a short, simple sentence structure— no excessiveness or educated glibness, just the purity and honesty of a child’s prate.

As the piece progresses, Lee’s writing style begins to transform. It becomes more educated and mature. “I had never seen our neighborhood from this angle,” Scout says, creating not only a transition in how Scout sees her world, but also a transition in the syntax. While the sentences remain short, the diction Miss Lee chooses is more advanced, as Scout recaps what she has seen in her lifetime – no longer through the eyes of a child. “The boy helped is sister to her feet, and they made their way home. Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day’s woes ans triumphs on their faces. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled, apprehensive.” Once again, Lee’s syntax is very suitable in the message she is trying to impart. Scout’s exposure to the strange and startling realities of the human soul take away her youthful innocence. Thus, she begins to, as all people must do, mature.

Another stylistic element that greatly aids in progressing the theme and tone of the novel is Lee’s implementation of imagery. She begins with Scout on the porch of a house she had once thought to be haunted. “Street lights winked down the street...

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Uploaded by:   DMMF226

Date:   04/04/2001

Category:   To Kill A Mockingbird

Length:   3 pages (611 words)

Views:   3212

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