This page focuses on the literary techniques that are used in the novel, "To Kill a Mocking Bird" are listed and explained below.
  • Emotional Appeal; Harper Lee triggers an emotional response in the audience in numerous parts of the text. One key example is when a mob approaches Atticus and tells him to move aside so that they can get to Tom Robinson. However, the children appear and go to Atticus which automatically changes the atmosphere. Scout spots the familiar face of Mr.Cunnigham and starts talking to him. "Hey, Mr Cunningham. How's your entailment gettin' along? ...Walter's your noy, isn't he? Tell him hey for me,won't you?" This evokes feelings of guilt and shame in Mr Cunningham, and he leads the men away from the premises.

  • Generalisations; Throughout the novel a great number of generalisations are made. Particularly when it comes to “colored people”. The society of Maycomb continuously demeans people out of the societal norm. They thoroughly critique and blame anyone of a different culture. Wether unfounded or not they have created a harsh generalisation and have in their minds created a physical representation of the evils of the world: “colored people”.

  • Appeals to family values; There are parts of the novel that are based on the belief that the traditional family arrangements are the best foundation for everybody. A key character who seems to believe that the tradition of the family should be kept alive is Aunt Alexandra. Throughout the novel, aunt Alexandra prides herself on being a proper lady who is well known around Maycomb.She decides to go and stay with the Finches in order to give the children a feminine influence, as she wants them to grow up like their ancestors.

  • Inclusive Language; Throughout the novel, the author uses inclusive language such as "we" and "us" to involve the reader directly in the issue. This makes the reader feel included and makes them feel that their view counts. It also encourages the reader to agree since their view is shared in the context of the novel. When Scout narrates the book she repetively uses the words 'we' and 'they' to portray the events that have taken place and her views on them.

  • Overstatement/Exaggeration; Harper Lee uses dramatic and forceful language to make characters exaggerate true situations. An example of this in the text is the courtroom when the case is taking place. Mayella Ewell uses forceful and dramatic language. This is applied in the text when Mayells states; " I got somethin' to say an' then I aint's gonna say no more. That nigger yonder took advantage of me, an' if you fine fancy gentlemen don't wanta do nothin' about it then you're all yellow stinkin' cowards, stinkin' cowards, the lot of you. Your fancy airs don't come to nothin', Mr Finch-" PG 207. This overstates the true situation as she dramatically starts crying afterwards.

  • Appeal to a sense of justice; Harper Lee speaks to people's belief that everyone deserves a fair chance by using different people from different cultures, and stating their place in society. This makes the reader question whether the people in the lower class are treated fairly and justly. A good example of this in the book is when Tom Robinson was found guilty- by the "all-white" jury. This is unfair and unjust as they have just accused a man of being guilty of rape simply because he is black and because a white woman blamed him.

  • Evidence; The reader is given evidence of the conditions and way of living at the time of the Great Depression. This allows the reader to get a more objective picture about what may have been considered as right and wrong at that particular time. Harper Lee also uses precise town names and describes realistic town life. This provides the reader with evidence that the writer knew what she was talking about and that stories like this actually happened in real life. The text also comes alive with the use of accents that the people of the town have. This makes the book more enjoyable to read and takes you back in time of the Great Depression and the people's way of life.

By: Naomi Borg