Being an individualistic person in society today is something many aren’t willing to do or show in the fear that they will be an outcast. In the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Harper Lee displays to the reader that social influencers of others can have an impact on one’s personality. Harper Lee wants her readers to take away from the novel that social influences can display the morally right thing to do and that can impact one’s lifestyle. That can affect their individualistic features. In the novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” the way that Harper Lee displays individuality is through the social influences of Jem, Calpurnia, and Atticus on Scout.
First, Jem is an important social influencer of Scout and for her to embrace her individuality.
In addition to Jem, Calpurnia was a main social influence who affected scout and who helped her to embrace her individuality. When Calpurnia took Scout and Jem to church she was bombarded by Lula who is ill-mannered, but Cal then said, ” Stop right there, negro. Lula stopped, but she said, you ain’t got no business bringin’ white chillun here- they got their own church we got our’n. “It is our church ain’t it miss, Calpurnia said, it’s the same god isn’t he?” (158). This goes on to demonstrate that Scout looks up to Calpurnia because since she is a feminine influence, Calpurnia’s actions matter and impact Scout. Calpurnia is modeling individuality because she is standing up for herself and scout admires that about her. Individuality is simply being a person who stands out from the crowd and in society is strongly marked as different. This is important because with Calpurnia standing up for herself that embraces her to socially influence scout to stand up for yourself but have respect for the other. When Calpurnia displays this scout admires her for doing so, so Scout may do the same which makes her stand out from society because she is standing up against the odds and being distinct. After Walter Cunningham came over to the finches for dinner scout spoke rudely about walters eating habits. This is how Calpurnia handled it, “Hush your mouth! Dont matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house’s yo’ comp’ny, and don’t you let me catch you remarkin’ on their ways like you was so high and mighty! Yo’ folks might be better’n the cunninghams but it don’t count for nothin’ the way you’re disgracin’ em- if you can’t act fit to eat at the table you can just set here and eat in the kitchen! (33).” This evidence of a fundamental truth that, Calpurnia wants Scout to respect people especially Walter because he has a different way he has been raised then scout, so that doesn’t give Scout the right to be rude towards him because of that.
Along with Jem and Calpurnia, Atticus also is a key influencer who impacted Scout to express her individuality. Scout questioned Atticus about if Atticus really is a negro-lover, “You aren’t really a negro-lover, then, are you? “I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody… I’m hard put, sometimes- baby, it’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesnt hurt you (144).” Atticus then goes on to explain to scout that he loves everyone no matter what the circumstances are, and that he thinks it’s the best for her to do the same. Atticus clearly has this love for people and he is influencing Scout by acting this was towards others. Atticus he is displaying a quality act of love because when someone has been rude the natural human instinct is to be rude right back. But when Atticus says that he loves everyone thats is very significant because he stands out from others. He can clearly be distinguished from others around him because he choose to love others rather than fight fire with fire.When Atticus is displaying love and he is then an influence on Scout because he not only chooses the morally right thing to do but he then he stands out from the crowd. Which goes to reveal that Atticus is one of the key social influences on scout because he wants Scout and Jem to not to be a “product of the town.” Atticus’ closing statement in trial, “We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe– 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 normal scopes of most men (274).” Again Atticus is saying that all men are created equal and they may not have all the same opportunities but they all are created the same. Here Atticus is again showing love and being an influence on his daughter love is a quality that is gained by a morally good human being. Scout is being shown that love may not be everywhere and not every man is equal and has different opportunities but you still treat that same person with love and respect as another. If then there is respect and love coming from scout that can put her aside from the rest of the kids her age she is acting more mature and her individuality is flourishing because she is making herself stand out from the rest of the kids her age.
In conclusion, as a person and existing in a society that portrays you to be a certain individual, it can be difficult to not be apart with others in a society that in general is a bandwagon. Harper Lee devotes to her reader that individuality is a key factor in someone’s identity and how they are separate from others. Scout is a young child who has influencers who she watches their every move that it’s important to distinguish yourself from others so their can be different views. There are a great deal of social influences on Scout and how they are supposed to model how to behave on a daily basis which those impacts can adjust to the way Scout is being brought up. When everyone’s being raised the same there is no distinct qualities that make people unique, Atticus wants Scout and Jem to be their distinctive person. With no distinctiveness diversity is not relevant and with no diversity society doesn’t get to see the different perspectives and opinions of others. Social influences are a key point into finding someone’s individuality and them finding their quality or character of a particular person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind especially when strongly marked. The impact of others can be negative and/or positive it can either define who you are and make you seperate from society or it can break you down and cause you to join the bandwagon and be apart of the “trend”. Harper Lee tries to impact her reader by showing how actions of others can influence another’s decision or life. Overall, as readers we should look at all the social influences on scout and analyze how they have shaped her individuality and expressed who she is today.