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You are watching: Examples of diction in to kill a mockingbird

Diction deserve to be characterized as the style of speaking or creating that is established by the word choice of the author. Throughout the novel To death a Mockingbird, Lee"s use of diction characterizes various community members that Maycomb and also differentiates.

In chapter 3 , Burris Ewell is asked to...

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Diction deserve to be identified as the layout of speaking or composing that is identified by the word choice of the author. Transparent the novel To kill a Mockingbird, Lee"s usage of diction characterizes various neighborhood members that Maycomb and also differentiates.

In chapter 3, Burris Ewell is request to leaving the school in order come bathe self after a cootie crawls out of his hair. Burris hails from an uneducated country home, i m sorry is viewed with contempt throughout the community. His informal, colloquial diction expose his background and lack that education. When miss out on Caroline tells him to wash his hair with lye soap, he responds, "What fer, missus?" (Lee, 27).

In chapter 9, the audience is introduced to Uncle Jack, who visits Maycomb because that the Finch family"s Christmas get-together. Unlike countless of the characters in the novel, Uncle Jack is an educated man, that uses formal diction once he speaks. Through using the word "invective" to defines Scout"s attack expressions, Uncle Jack displayed his understanding and broad vocabulary. He speak Atticus,

"Her use of restroom invective leaves nothing come the imagination. Yet she doesn’t know the definition of fifty percent she says..." (Lee, 90).

In chapter 12, Lula may uses informal, uneducated diction once she criticizes Calpurnia for acquisition Jem and Scout to their African American church. Lula might tells Calpurnia,

"You ain’t acquired no organization bringin‘ white chillun here—they got their church, we gained our’n. It is our church, ain’t it, miss out on Cal?" (Lee, 120).

Further Reading

Diction is just word choice. Due to the fact that this story takes ar in the South throughout the great depression, several characters speak in distinctive ways.

Scout and Jem

Scout and also Jem are children of the South. They speak often in southerly slang. 

"Shoot no wonder, then," said Jem, jerking his thumb at me. "Scout yonder"s to be readin" ever since she to be born, and also she ain"t also started to institution yet. Friend look right puny for goin" on seven." (ch 1)

This is just one of the very first real examples of dialogue in the story, and here the diction creates the setting very well. The words in bold room all examples of very closely chosen southerly diction. Some of the words and also phrases are much more common in the South. For example, “yonder” and also “goin’ on” space distinctly favored phrases.


Atticus is just one of the few educated people in Maycomb, and also this is prove by his choice of words. Of all of the characters, Atticus seems to choose his words many carefully. The is a lawyer, after all.

"They have the right to go come school any type of time they desire to, when they display the faintest symptom that wanting one education… there are methods of maintaining them in institution by force, but it"s silly to force people like the Ewells right into a new environment-" (ch 3)

Atticus constantly speaks clearly and distinctly chooses his words. The does no speak under to his children, and they are an ext intelligent for it.

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Scout notes that when Calpurnia is at church with the various other black human being she talks in different ways than once she is at home. Calpurnia is an instance of a code-switcher, someone who alters diction based on who the audience is in order to fit in better. 

"Baby," stated Calpurnia, "I just can"t assist it if pops Jem"s growin" up. He"s gonna desire to be off to himself a lot now, doin" everything boys do, therefore you simply come appropriate on in the kitchen as soon as you feeling lonesome…." (ch 12)

Calpurnia’s speak is additionally a prime instance of the southerly dialect, and also her diction is a mixture of educated and uneducated, specifically when she is speak affectionately as she is here.