Good morning/afternoon Executives of the Board of Studies. In the topic of powerful to powerless, To Kill A Mockingbird is a classic novel that is relevant and appropriate. It possesses many admirable qualities that prove its worth to be on the new curriculum. The novel explores many ideas regarding the use and abuse of power, different forms of power, the consequences of power, and how the composer has used language to portray power. To Kill A Mockingbird explores a number of different types of power throughout.
There are four types of power: personal, instrumental, projected and official power.
One clear example of power is that of Atticus Finch’s regarding his children. As their father, Atticus has official power over Scout and Jem. He also has instrumental power as he provides a home, as well as other basic necessities for his children. Another example of power, although it is negative, is the projected power that Bob Ewell possesses over Tom Robinson.
Tom Robinson highlights his fear of Bob as he testifies “Mr. Finch, if you was a nigger like me, you’d be scared too. ” Bob Ewell’s power demonstrates that power can be taken and abused by others.
Despite whether if you have an abundance of power of you are miserably lacking so, there will always be certain consequences that follow. Bob Ewell, as an example, believed that he was better than the African Americans despite the fact that he was considered the lowest class in white society. Bob Ewell abused his power, although it was still lacking. Ewell, was too prideful, that after being humiliated in court and stripped of dignity by Atticus, he decided to attack Atticus’ children. Furthermore, Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley can depict a lack of power. Boo Radley had lived most of his life trapped inside his home by his oppressive family members.
He was feared because of the negative connotations that surrounded him. The stories that were told of him portrayed his character as a monster, or something to fear. Furthermore, another figure in the novel that lacked power was Tom Robinson. In society, African Americans were looked down upon by the white society. Tom Robinson was racially discriminated against by Bob Ewell, who framed him for a crime he did not commit. As white people were the superior race, they had power over the African Americans. As Tom Robinson lacked power, he also lacked the ability to act against the threats of Bob Ewell because of his fear.
Even though Tom Robinson was a man of great stature, and seemed adequate to engage in a physical brawl despite his injury, he was still afraid. Harper Lee employs a range of language techniques in order to convey ideas about power. Lee has described Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley as having ‘cheeks that were thin to hollowness’, ‘gray eyes that were colourless’ and hair that was ‘dead and thin’. It has been acknowledged that Boo is considered one of the novel’s most powerless figures. His name is an aptronym, it portrays his character and highlights his mysterious nature. It is also an example of onomatopoeia, hinting at negative connotations.
Additionally, there are other aspects that can also assist the portrayal of his character. The author describes the Radley house as ‘droopy and sick’, this parallels to the descriptions made of Boo. Harper Lee’s many descriptions of Boo Radley creates a vivid picture in the reader’s mind, the reader is immediately drawn to the connotations that surround Boo. It is because of ideas explored previously that prove To Kill A Mockingbird to be a worthy contender on the new school curriculum. It explored the concept behind power and powerless and therefore is relevant.