Ignorans mot Oskyldighet
: Go Set a Watchmans fall mot To Kill a Mockingbirds Hegemoni

Translated title of the thesis: Ignorance v. Innocence: Go Set a Watchman’s Case against the Hegemony of To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Thän Gustafsson

Student thesis: Bachelor


This paper takes a cultural materialist approach in analyzing the hegemonic purpose of using Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in American education. Ideas from critical race theory and Lee’s second novel, Go Set a Watchman, are used to reveal obfuscated aspects of Mockingbird’s narrative. These aspects have been repurposed to fit a Eurocentric palate, and have let the book achieve success under the guise of being a progressive and multiculturalist work. Mockingbird’s narration, marked by childlike innocence, has been used to obfuscate Eurocentric ignorance of racial and economic inequality. The text has also been used to divert blame from those in power onto those oppressed by a hegemonic system. Racism is in Mockingbird inaccurately described as an individual moral issue, rather than a system of discrimination which is deeply ingrained in every aspect of U.S. society. The liberal moderate ideology which informs Atticus character has historically been ignored due to his unquestionable, near-mythical position as a moral role model. The paper finds that Mockingbird has been used as part of a greater Eurocentric narrative which positions the Civil Rights Movement as a white movement of moral improvement.

Date of Award2019-Oct-09
Original languageSwedish
SupervisorLena Ahlin (Supervisor) & Maria Bäcke (Examiner)

Courses and Subjects

  • English

University credits

  • 15 HE credits

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • General Literary studies (60203)


  • cultural materialism
  • cultural criticism
  • critical race theory
  • harper lee
  • to kill a mockingbird
  • go set a watchman
  • eurocentrism

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