ENGLISH 9: Irony, Tone and Satiric Intent in TKAM

by Karen Carmen on January 9, 2012

Choose ONE of the following prompts and answer in paragraph form.  Be sure to include a strong topic sentence, specific examples and in-text citations, as well as a powerful concluding sentence.

A.  In Chapters 23-25, the author is attacking and ridiculing the mindset of a group of people.  However, Harper Lee doesn’t have Scout say that these individuals are stupid, prejudiced or hypocritical; Scout simply repeats what they say, and, from the context of the whole story, the reader knows that the narrator is speaking with an ironic tone.

Who is being ridiculed and what specific quality is being satirized?

B.  Considering the comment Miss Gates made to Miss Stephanie Crawford in Chapter 26, what is ironic about Miss Gates’ comments on Hitler?  What type of irony do you think this is?

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Hilda L. Eng 1D-2 February 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Situational irony is demonstrated through the novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Although Miss Gates told the class “there are no better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is a mystery to me” (Lee 270). She believes the way Hitler is treating the Jews is unjust as the Jews have done nothing to Hitler, but he is oppressing them just for their race. Her words contradict with her actions; similarly to Hitler, she also discriminates a group of people who are not worse than her in any way. Her racial prejudice does not differ from Hitler’s, but her argument against Hitler shows situational irony. Through Miss Gates’ situational irony, she represents hypocrisy in the novel. Like many of the people in the town, she discriminates against blacks and treats them as inferiors, while preaching against prejudice. Miss Gates is a representation of the town’s hypocrisy on discrimination through the situational irony.

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Zoe K (1d-2) January 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm

In “To Kill A Mockingbird”, Miss Gates demonstrates situational irony in chapter 26. She states how Hitler discriminated the Jews, therefore “she hates Hitler a lot” and “how bad it was him treatin’ the Jews” (Lee, Ch. 282). However the irony is demonstrated through Miss Gates’ prejudice towards the blacks because Scout hears how she tells Miss Stephanie Crawford about Tom that “it’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson” (Lee, 283). This is the same treatment Hitler gave the Jews even if they did not do anything harmful towards the Germans and other people. Just because Tom is a black man, it does not mean he is instinctively criminal and must to jail. In the same case, just because the Jews are better and more successful than the Germans, it does not mean that the Nazis should go torture and kill all the Jewish people. Miss Gates criticizes how bad Hitler is when she goes around and telling people how bad all the blacks are, which is the same ironic theory.

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Carlos C-English 1D-5 January 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm

In the novel To kill a Mockingbird, when Cecil Jacbos and Miss Gates were having a conversation, Miss Gates was having a conversation with the children, educating them about Maycomb, explaining to them the racism between Black and White people. While doing so, they used Adolf Hitler as an example discriminating Jewish people, just like Maycomb is, discriminating and excluding Blacks from what the whites can do. Miss Gates hated the way Hitler treated the jewish, how he was discriminating them for their race. Cecil Jacobs explained it as if the prosecution Hitler did was a flashback of the prosecution which took place during Tom Robinson’s trial. Therefore, the irony used was situational irony, where as Cecil Jacobs repeated the same prosecution Tom Robinson went through as if he was Jewish and while everyone else was Adolf Hitler.

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Emma J.END1D-5 January 12, 2012 at 8:39 am

In chapter 26 of the novel, To Kill A Mocking Bird, the author Harper Lee uses dramatic irony to indicate and promote Maycomb County’s white citizens behavior towards black people. Scout’s teacher, Mrs. Gates was attempting to appropriately explain Aldof Hitlers persecution of the Jews in Germany to her class. In addition to that, she appeared to be completely in disagreement with what Hitler was doing to the Jews. “Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced”, and “there are no better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is a mystery to me” (Lee 281).

Even though Mrs. Gates makes it appear like she despises Hitler because he prejudiced the jews, she had no clue she was just as prejudiced against black citizens of Maycomb. This exhibits a great use of dramatic irony in the novel. Mrs. Gates told Miss Stephanie Crawford after the trial that “it’s time somebody taught them (The black people) a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves” (Lee 283). In addition to that, when Cecil Jacobs presumably made a mistake in his pronunciation during his current events and had said that Hitler was “prosecuting” the Jews, Miss Gates immediately had informed that he was incorrect. This informs the reader that she had distinguished that the prosecution of Tom Robinson had been a representation of an equally violent maltreatment of the Jews. In conclusion, through the comments that Mrs. Gates makes about the prosecution of Tom Robinson and the black people in Maycomb, she opposes her own points about how Hitlers discrimination and unfairness against Jewish people is horrible.

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Kelly W2 (1D-5) January 12, 2012 at 8:34 am

The literary element of irony, to indicate one’s meaning by using language that signifies the opposite of its literal meaning (Dictionary.com), is a powerful thinking technique that can illustrate a point better than plain story telling. In the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, the scene is set in South America of the 1930s, the crucial time of when black people were discriminated by the whites and are seen as the lower class of society. Author Harper Lee used dramatic irony to emphasize the prejudice attitude of Maycomb, being hypocritical towards themselves and towards others. One example is seen inside the classroom, while discussing upon dictator Adolf Hitler’s persecution towards Jews in Germany, Scout Finch’s teacher Miss Gate found it wrong for Hitler to persecute Jews and believed that that “There are no better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is a mystery to me.” (Lee, 270). Though on the other hand, outside the courtroom, Scout overheard Miss Gate saying how it is good that someone in the black community is “learning a lesson”: “it’s time somebody taught ’em lesson, they were gettin‘ way above themselves” (Lee, 272). The white people and Hitler, both are oppressing another group of people, yet Miss Gates could be bias against the blacks and then criticize Hitler. From Miss Gate’s performance she teaches us not to be a prejudice person, making assumptions about other’s character and personality before actually knowing them.

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Jessica N. ENG1D-5 January 12, 2012 at 7:42 am

In Chapter 26 of Haper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, she uses dramatic irony when writing about the character, Miss Gates, her comments and behavior towards black people. In school, the children listens to Cecil Jacob’s current events presentation on Adolf Hitler, and his ways of treating the Jews. Miss Gates emphasizes to them how wrong it is to persecute anybody, and in Maycomb County, it is believed that you must not “have mean thoughts about anybody” (Lee 272). This situation is ironic because as the story continues to take place, we find out that Miss Gates was speaking to Miss Stephanie Crawford when leaving the court-house the other night. She comments on the black people and mentions “it’s time anybody taught ‘em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves”. Children in the society are taught not to have negative thoughts towards anybody, but Miss Gates sets a poor example for them and gives negative personal opinions towards black people. Tom Robinson’s trial also presents an aggressive persecution of black people and contradicts to the knowledge and belief of society Miss Gates provides the children. One one hand, Miss Gates tries to teach the children what’s right and what’s wrong. On another, she herself does not follow what seems to be the society’s rules. She contradicts her point of view and shows dramatic irony through her words at different situations.

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Joyce C. (English - 1D - 5) January 12, 2012 at 7:31 am

Dramatic irony is used in chapter 26 of the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, as Miss Gates, Scout Finch’s third grade teacher discusses about Hitler. For a Current Events presentation, Cecil Jacobs brought in an article about Hitler and how he is persecuting the Jews. At this point, Miss Gates tells the class about how in the States, “we don’t believe in persecuting anybody” (Lee 270) because this comes from the prejudiced ones. She further states that “Jews have been persecuted since the beginning of history” (Lee 271). She defends them by saying that they “contribute to every society they live in” (Lee 271) and says that they are the best people in the world so should not be oppressed by Hitler. However, she contradicts her own beliefs when she told Miss Stephanie Crawford that “it’s time somebody taught [the blacks] a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us” (Lee 272). From this, we can clearly see that she does in fact think that oppressing certain people, in the case, based on racial prejudice is correct. In conclusion, Miss Gate’s different opinions disagree with each other as she has completely opposite perspectives towards the same general idea of persecution of different classes of people.

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Kelly W#1- English 1D-5 January 12, 2012 at 12:34 am

A hypocrite is a person who contradicts with their actions or what they said, which basically means a pretender. Dramatic irony is when the reader knows about what is happening in the plot, whereas the character(s) have no knowledge of. These two techniques: Hypocrisy and dramatic irony were present in the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird in chapters 23-25, and Miss Gates is the example.
In the trial, Miss Gates showed racist detest she had on blacks, and discriminated Tom Robinson in every ugly way possible. However, one day in class, Miss denounced Adolf Hitler, and didn’t appreciate his way of acting, as he was known for discriminating against the Jews. This led to a point she wanted to make to the class: Persecuting anybody is immoral. By pointing that out, she has contradicted herself, and pushed in the fact that blacks aren’t “anybody”, because she was racist against the blacks and persecuted Tom Robinson badly, but in her theory, persecuting anybody is wrong.
The author, Harper Lee uses irony and hypocrisy to show the theme of how people of Maycomb absorb in elements of beliefs, leading to complete acts of unjustified discrimination.

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Chris L. 1D-5 January 12, 2012 at 12:15 am

In chapter 26 of the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses dramatic irony to show the hypocrisy and Maycomb’s ignorance towards their treatment of black people. Ms. Gates gives the class a lesson about how “Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced. There are no better people in the world that are better than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is a mystery to me.” She clearly states that she is against Hitler’s prejudice on the Jews, and that she think’s all races in the world are equal. Yet when Ms. Gates was leaving the courthouse that night, she told Ms. Stephanie Crawford that “It’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves.” (Lee, 272) The irony is that she’s completely oblivious to the fact that she is just as prejudice to black people as how she explained “Prejudice” and “Persecution” to her class. In conclusion, Harper Lee uses dramatic irony to show the insensitivity of people in Maycomb towards mistreatment to black people. Ms. Gates understands that prejudice that Hitler had towards the Jews, yet she is incognizant to her self contradictory and prejudice towards black people.

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Daphne P. English 1D-5 January 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm

The dramatic irony in Miss Gates’ comments in Chapter 26 of To Kill A Mockingbird is almost curious to the reader. In Jean Louise “Scout” Finch’s class at school one day, Scout’s classmate, Cecil Jacobs, presented a current event about Adolf Hitler, and his rounding up and “prosecution” of Jews. When Cecil mentions that “Hitler has been prosecuting the- (the Jews)” (Lee 269), Miss Gates immediately interrupts and corrects him, saying that “persecution” should be used in the place of “prosecution”. Cecil attempts to point out that it actually says “prosecute” in his article, but cuts short and continues with his presentation. The irony here is that us, as readers almost 70 years after the second world war, know that Jews haven’t committed illegal crimes (which is the reason to prosecute people). At least, not all six million of them. It is also evident to the readers that Miss Gates had subconsciously made the connection between the Nazi regime and their own issue in their county. After Cecil’s presentation, Miss Gates gives a quick lesson about the differences between the governments in Germany and in America. She goes on to say that “over here (in Maycomb) we don’t believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced.” (Lee 270). Yet what was the big issue of the time in their community? The trial of Tom Robinson, and how a prejudiced jury led to the “persecution” of Tom, a Negro. Miss Gates is doing her job in teaching future leaders that what was going on in Germany was bad, but it’s all good at home, when inside, she herself believes that there is prejudice in the world that led to persecution. Ironically, Miss Gates taught her students that Maycomb is a friendly place where there is no prejudice and people are nice to each other, when an important recent local event completely contradicted that statement.

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Nicole L. English- 1D5 January 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm

The dramatic irony used in To Kill A Mockingbird is made as a connection between Hitler and the segregation of blacks in Maycomb. The ironic comment made about Hitler serves as a powerful connection to how a character in the story is oblivious to the persecution that she is against. Ms. Gates herself believes that “it was awful” (Lee 271) that Hitler would treat people that way but in fact she herself is “ugly about folks right at home.” (Lee 272) She probably doesn’t realize that she is doing the same to the black people as to what Hitler is doing to the Jews. Even the children such as Cecil think Jews should not be prosecuted because “they’re white”(Lee 271). All these comments made about the wrongdoings of Hitler towards the Jews contradict themselves because Maycomb county is doing the same to the black people. In conclusion, by using dramatic irony to magnify the segregation shows the major hypocrisy within Maycomb.

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Benjamin C. ENG1D-5 January 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm

In the 26th chapter of To Kill A Mockingbird, dramatic irony was used to contrast Hitler with the people of Maycomb. Jean Lousie Finch’s teacher, or Scout’s teacher, Ms.Gates, was educating her third grade class about Hitler and his oppressive treatment tot he Jewish society in Germany. Ms.Gates despises Hitler’s actions towards the Jewish, as she went out of her way explaining to her class that “We are a Democracy and Germany is a Dictatorship.” She believes that “There are no better people in the world than the Jews” and “They contribute in every society they live in” (Lee 270) Ironically, she can be related to Hitler and his actions. During a conversation with Ms. Crawford, she said: “It’s time somebody taught them a lesson.” As she was referring to the black people in her society, she subconscious that she is also discriminatory towards people. (Lee 272) To conclude, although Ms.Gates despises the actions of Adolf Hitler on the Jewish, she is doing the same thing in her society by persecuting the black people within her own society.

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Lindy Wong 1D-5 January 11, 2012 at 10:25 pm

In Chapter 26 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Miss Gates makes a comment on Hitler that uses dramatic irony, as she contradicts the very words she had said when speaking to Miss Stephanie Crawford about the contempt she feels towards the African American community within Maycomb.

Miss Gates explains to the class about Hitler’s controlling actions, saying “That’s the difference between America and Germany. We are a democracy and Germany is a dictatorship.” (Lee 270). What she says is ironic because in reality, Maycomb county is not a democracy, there is clear segregation within the community in everyday life, this includes the courtroom seating and churches. Scout describes democracy as “equal rights for all, special privileges for none” (Lee 270), however, Miss Gates had previously commented on the African American community to Miss Stephanie Crawford that “it’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us.” (Lee 272). This shows evident discrimination by herself towards a certain group of people in America. The story uses dramatic irony to show Miss Gates’ hypocrisy, because the reader (and Scout) knows something that many others (the students) do not – that although Miss Gates doesn’t like Hitler’s prejudice attitude, she as an individual in what she says is a democratic country carries the same attitude toward Maycomb’s African Americans.

In conclusion, Miss Gates disapproves Hitler’s disdain on Jewish people, however, she herself is also acting the same way about the African American community in Maycomb, whether she knows it or not.

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Enid C. 1D-5 January 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm

To show the traits of people from Maycomb County, Harper Lee, author of the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, used dramatic irony to convey the message. The topic of Adolf Hitler, a man known for his persecution of Jews, was brought into Miss Gates’ classroom through a current event presentation. During discussion in class about Hitler’s dictatorship, Miss Gates showed her opinion that “over here we don’t believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudice” (Lee, 281). However, a while ago during a trial where a black man was falsely accused and sent to jail for rape, it was heard that Miss Gates had expressed how “t’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves” (Lee 283). The ‘them’ was referring to the black people, and how they should not think too highly about themselves. Whether Miss Gates was conscious about this or not, she had shown prejudice against the black people in that statement. The main reason for Harper Lee to show Miss Gates’ opinion is mainly to show the white people’s feelings and thoughts during time of segregation. Therefore, to show such prejudice in a way that seems natural for the speaker, Harper Lee used dramatic irony to do so.

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Edward wa. Chi. P. ENG1D-5 January 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Dramatic Irony was used in Chapter 26 of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. He told the reader about how people from Maycomb County treated black people. Scout’s teacher Miss Gates was teaching her students about Hitler and how much he hated the Jews. She totally disagreed with what he did as she believed that “persecution comes from people who are prejudiced”, and “there are no better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is a mystery to her” (Lee 281). However this was ironic as even though she hated Hitlar so much, she hated black people at the same time as she said “it’s time somebody taught (the blacks) a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves” (Lee 283). Therefore I think she is not a good role model. A clear irony was also seen here.

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Brandon C. 1D-5 January 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm

In the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee makes use of the technique, dramatic irony through Miss Gates comments. Miss Gates, Scout Jean Louise’s 3rd grade teacher was teaching a class about Adolf Hitler and his discrimination against the Jews. Miss Gates talked about how in her opinon, the Jews were one of the best people in the world “There are no better people in the world than the Jews” (Lee,270) She also hinted she thought what Hitler did to the Jews was wrong and one of the worst things in history.”The Jews have been persecuted since the beginning of history, even driven out of their own country. It’s one of the most terrible stories in history.” (Lee,271) What was ironic about this situation was later during the Tom Robinson trial, she was overheard discriminating the black folks. “It’s time somebody taught’em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us.” (Lee,272) The irony here was she believes what Hitler did was wrong, discriminating the Jews, but what she does not realize is that she is doing the exact same thing against the black folks. Lee used dramatic irony by comparing the situation with the Jews and the racism against the black folks, and how Miss Gates think differently of the two situations when they’re both about the same thing, discrimination.

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Valerie T. (1D-5) January 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm

The primary instance of irony appear when Miss Gates started to have the class recite the words “we are a democracy”. In To KIll a Mockingbird, in Chapter 26 when Miss Gates discusses the Jews, Hitler, and the harm that Hitler has done. Miss Gates said, “The different between American and Germany. Then miss Gates said, “That’s the difference between America and Germany. We are a democracy and Germany is a dictatorship. Over here we don’t believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced. Pre-ju-dice” (Lee 270). Miss Gates then discusses the Jew and the harm that Hitler has done to the Jews. The dramatic irony is that Miss Gates doesn’t realize and see the prejudice and history of persecution in her own country. In a way, Miss Grace is describing the Negroes in the community and how “they contribute to every society they live in” (Lee 271). This example shows the readers how unaware the people of Maycomb are of the prejudice in their society.

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Cheuk To T. ENG1D-5 January 11, 2012 at 5:08 pm

The verbal irony in Miss Gates’ comments is that while she disapproves of Hitler’s persecuting of Jews, she herself discriminates against blacks. During a discussion with her class, she expresses her discontent with Hitler for persecuting the Jews because “there are no better people in the world than the Jews” and they “contribute to every society they live in” (Lee 270; 271). However, she is prejudiced against black people, evident because she thinks that “it’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson” (Lee 272). The blacks have not caused any trouble to her, yet she does the same to them, similar to Hitler and the Jews. This emphasizes the blind belief that blacks are evil and immoral

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Saumya M. Eng 9 (1D-2) January 11, 2012 at 8:04 am

Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird, uses dramatic irony effectively to prove the point of discrimination. We learn about the views of Ms. Gates when she is talking to Ms. Crawford about Hitler. In her views, she believed that “it’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson” Lee 283) and that Jews have no reason to be hated because “there are no better people people in the world. They contribute to every society they live in (Lee 281). It is ironic, because Ms. Gates has these specific views of Hitler and the Nazis persecuting the Jews, whereas the people of Maycomb County are doing the same to the Black community that live in their surroundings. As Scout says so herself, “How can you hate Hitler so bad an’ then turn around and be ugly about folds right at home” (Lee 283). This shows that the people of Maycomb county not only need to take a minute to reflect on their actions, but also need to start treating others the way they want to be treated.

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Alden Au Eng 9 ID-2 January 11, 2012 at 8:03 am

When Miss Gates made the comment to Miss Stephanie Crawford in chapter 26 of To Kill A Mockingbird, he comment was ironic because she contradicts herself when she said that the blacks were getting above their heads. The type of irony is dramatic irony because the reader knows but Miss Gates does not.

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Kevin L. – Eng. 9 (1D-2) January 11, 2012 at 8:01 am

B.
It is always helpful to investigate the instances of irony in any story in order to fully understand some of the themes featured in it, as in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, where countless depictions of them have been made to aid the readers in grasping the essence of the novel. A specific incident in the book that certainly demonstrates clear irony happens in Chapter 26 when Miss Gates was teaching Scout and the rest of her class about HItler, and explains to them that unlike in Germany, they didn’t “believe in persecuting anybody” in America. Later on in the chapter, however, it is shown that MIss Gates herself was actually hostile towards the African-Americans when she complained that “it’s time somebody taught ’em a lesson, they were gettin‘ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us”, and thereby evidently displaying her racial discriminations against them. This event serves as an example of situation irony in the novel, because Miss Gates was educating the children all about the evils of prejudice in Germany in one point, then was suddenly found to be discriminating against the African-Americans right in Maycomb. This case of irony is especially distinct as the subject criticizes the persecution against the Jews while promoting the ones in her own communities, a perfect exhibition of the inhumanity in her.

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Chris C. (1D-2) January 11, 2012 at 6:21 am

Considering the comment Miss Gates made to Miss Stephanie Crawford in Chapter 26, what is ironic about Miss Gates’ comments on Hitler? What type of irony do you think this is?

Miss Gate’s comments on Hitler was a type of dramatic irony. The author gave us the definition of the word democracy through a short dialogue, “equal rights for all, special privileges for non” (281 Lee). Miss Gates contradicted herself when she tells the class that the jews are being persecuted and it was a terrible, but while the children are gone she tells miss Stephanie Crawford something negative about the Negros “somebody taught ‘em a less.” How could she be so pitiful of those being persecuted outside of the country, while her country was persecuting some of their own people who are just as good as any Jew.

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Yuihang L. – Eng. 9 (1D-2) January 11, 2012 at 1:06 am

In Chapter 26 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper lee demonstrates the use of dramatical irony through Miss Gates. She is Scout’s teacher and apparently has an intense hatred of Hitler. She was preaching to the children about the absolute evilness of his prejudiced actions of persecuting Jews during WW2 and how she is entirely antagonistic to his doings. What’s ironic is that she did not realize the same mistake she had made. Although she had deep hatred against Hitler’s prejudices, she herself was racially prejudiced against blacks. Coming out of the courthouse, Scout overheard Miss Gates talking to Miss Stephanie saying “It’s time somebody taught em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves” (Lee 238) referring to the blacks. In conclusion, Miss Gates’s statement of how right the jury was to put black people back to their place proved her to be a true hypocrite.

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Jonathan L. (Eng ID-2) January 10, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Considering the comment Miss Gates made to Miss Stephanie Crawford in Chapter 26, what is ironic about Miss Gates’ comments on Hitler? What type of irony do you think this is?

Miss Gates’ comments on Hitler in Chapter 26 of To Kill a Mockingbird is an example of situational irony. Situational irony, is when the purpose is completely reversed, such as being shot by one’s own gun. When Miss Gates’ says ‘there are no better people in the world than the Jews’ (Lee 281), and then hypocritically comments on black people, ‘it’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves…’. (Lee 285), we see that she contradicts herself through her on dialogue. This contradiction gives us a reverse feeling; at first, we think she is a non-bias, fair and just person. But, once again, because of her comment she makes towards the blacks, we now know she is a hypocrite.

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Christie C. Eng 1D-2 January 10, 2012 at 11:38 pm

In the book To Kill A Mockingbird, the author, Harper Lee used situational irony in Chapter 26 to show Maycomb’s reaction and conduct towards how Negroes are like. In this short chapter, Harper Lee managed to put a few examples of how the citizens of Maycomb’s feeling towards the Blacks are. This sentence said by Miss Gates, Scout’s third grade teacher, “there are no better people in the world than Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is a mystery to me” (Lee, 281) is an example of situational irony. This sentence is considered a situational irony because Miss Gates shows how much she dislikes Hitler and his actions of killing people with beliefs and race that’s different to his. But in reality, right before her own eyes, she and a lot of other people in the city of Maycomb is actually an example of Hitler since she told Miss Stephanie Crawford that “it’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson, they were getting’ way above themselves” (Lee, 283). Which she is actually being a hypocrite since earlier on in the chapter, she mentioned that she hated Hitler and his actions when she was being discriminative to the blacks in her city. In conclusion, though Miss Gates comments on how Hitler wasn’t a good example to follow she’s contradicting herself since she’s doing the same but to the blacks in Maycomb.

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Alastair N. Eng 9 (1D-2) January 10, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Dramatic Irony*

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Gary G. (Eng 1D-2) January 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm

As Scout is invited to listen to the ladies comprising the Missionary Circle, she realizes that they believe they are “good Christians,” especially Mrs. Merriweather. As they commiserate over the plight of the poor Mrunas who live in a jungle in a completely different continent, they have no compassion for the plight of their black neighbors, neighbors such as Tom Robinson and his family who are experience excruciating mental pain. They view Tom Robinson’s trial as a personal inconvenience to the black community of Maycomb. “…the cooks and field hands are just dissatisfied, but they’re settling down now–they grumbled all next day after that trial.” (Lee 264) The ladies are so custom to racism that they are completely oblivious to their sadistic hypocrisy. As expected, Atticus understands that Tom Robinson’s death is meaningless to the town of Maycomb, just as it was when he was shot seventeen times by the prison guard. To the Missionary circle and Maycomb, Tom wasn’t Tom – he was just another “Negro” who’s demise meant nothing.

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Albert C. Eng 9 1D-2 January 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm

In Chapter 26 of To Kill A Mockingbird, Cecil Jacobs informs the class about Adolf Hitler persecuting Jews and their teacher who strongly disapproves of Hitler, Miss Gates, ironically contradicted her beliefs in a comment on the Tom Robinson trial. Miss Gates believed that “there are no better people in the world than the Jews” and wondered “why Hitler doesn’t think so.” (Lee 281). Although Miss Gates didn’t openly state she wasn’t prejudice, her discussion with the class strongly implies she couldn’t see the reason for being prejudice. She presumes Hitler is prejudice because “he doesn’t like them for that (religious) reason” (Lee 281). In addition, Cecil said it “ain’t no cause to persecute ‘em. They’re white, ain’t they?”, showing the misconception that white people shouldn’t be persecuted. Yet, he didn’t mention about the blacks, and Miss Gates didn’t correct him, showing that they were blindly persecuting blacks. This leads to the comment Miss Gates made about the trial, saying “it’s time somebody taught ‘em (blacks) a lesson,” as they were “gettin’ way above themselves” (Lee 283). The code of society disapproved of any whites interacting with blacks and the blacks were a lower class than the whites. The situational irony in Chapter 26 occurs as Miss Gates disliked what Hitler was doing to the Jews, yet, she was unknowingly treating the black unfairly, similar to Hitler.

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Albert C. Eng 9 1D-2 January 11, 2012 at 8:01 am

Can you help me change situational to dramatic? Thanks

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Michelle A. (1D-2) January 10, 2012 at 11:12 pm

In To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee is using situational irony to further emphasize the seriousness of the matter. During the midst of chapter 26 in To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout was learning about “current events” with her classmates when they came across the subject of Hitler. Miss Gates, then started instructing students on the importance of being unprejudiced and remaining democratic. However, Scout had later caught her speaking of the blacks, saying “it’s time someone taught them a lesson”. As a teacher who previously lectured them on the goodness of being fair and the horrible acts of prosecution, it was pretty hypocritical and ironic of her to turn around and then judge the blacks so harshly once again without truly knowing the truth. Dramatic irony is when a character speaks brashly or does something out of ignorance of something that the reader is aware of. In this case, we are aware of the wrongs of racism and prejudice as we are living in a era where rules about being prejudiced against people because of their beliefs or race are very strict. We are educated and know that acting in this particular way is wrong, but Miss Gates, is unaware that she just committed hypocrisy. Harper Lee is trying to show this to the audience by highlighting the key parts and linking them together to demonstrate how biased we all are, even subconsciously.

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Pearl L. (1D-2) January 10, 2012 at 10:16 pm

The dramatic irony of Miss Gates’ remark on Hitler, allows readers to acknowledge just how ignorant and blinded her society is. Believing that the society she lives in is democratic, meaning that there are “equal rights for all, special privileges for none” (Lee 281), she differentiates her community from the way Hitler governed his, in which the readers know isn’t entirely true. The similarities are not of the violence, but the way they think; the communities act hostile to those they don’t accept in their everyday lives, which were colored people, similar to Hitler’s hostility to the Jews. Their society’s discrimination comes so naturally that they view it as rational and fair, so fair that Miss Gates makes a statement that her society does not “believe in persecuting anybody” (Lee 281), and that “persecution comes from people who are prejudiced” (Lee 281), but in reality the people she called prejudice were those right at home, those living in Southern America during her time. Thus, Miss Gates’ statement shows ignorance and hypocrisy, and how they rule the community’s concept on what equality really is.

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Jae Yoon L. (Eng 1D-2) January 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Harper Lee finds an opportunity in Chapter 26 of To Kill A Mockingbird, to throw obvious irony at the readers. This enabled the readers to get a better insight of how the Maycomb folks viewed the segregation in their point of view. Miss Gates, a Maycomb citizen, was against Adolf Hitler who persecuted the Jews because they were those of the lower class. She passionately educated the schoolchildren that this was an unacceptable behavior and took time to explain the inhumane behavior. “Very good, Jean Louise, very good,” Mis gates smiled. In front of DEMOCRACY, she printed WE ARE A. “Now class, say it altogether.” (Lee, 281) She is a teacher, role model and wise educator of the students who shows the the righteous way, in this case: prejudice shouldn’t be allowed. Then she moves on saying that Germany unlike America is a dictatorship while America is a proud Democratic country where there are “Equal rights for all, special privileges for none”.(Lee, 281) Miss Gates is a perfect example of how much adults in Maycomb believe in. Since the Black segregation was an issue they were brought up in a society that advocates this, they have no choice but to become adults with prejudice at the back of their minds without realizing. This chapter leaves readers not only notice the obvious irony but also grasp the idea that education from childhood is indeed significant.

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David Mok January 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm

The use of dramatic irony in Chapter 26 of To Kill A Mockingbird is a representation of Maycomb’s manners towards blacks. Miss Gates, who is Scout’s teacher, is teaching the class about Hitler and his attempt to eradicate the Jews. She wholly opposed to this as she thinks that “over here we don’t believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced”, and that “there are no better people in the world than the Jews” (Lee 281). Ironically, she herself is prejudiced which is proven when Scout recalls Miss Gates saying, “It’s time somebody taught ‘em a lessons they were getting’ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us” (Lee 283). Even though she is so quick on making it clear that Hitler is persecuting, she is unable to see that she herself is prejudiced, although not against the Jewish population. This behavior reveals that she believes that blacks are barely human based on their skin color. As a result of her polar comments, she gainsays her point on the unreasonable prejudice based on stereotypes.

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Noten K. - Eng 9 - 1D-2 #2 January 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the author employs the subtle use of contrast between the attitude of Maycomb against blacks, and how they view Hitler treating the Jews badly. This is employment of dramatic irony in the sense that the people of Maycomb think that “It’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson” (Lee 283) although they exhibit obvious disgust of Hitler and his ideals “The only time I ever saw Atticus scowl was when Elmer Davis would give use the latest on Hitler” (Lee 281). So the irony displayed in the novel is through the hypocritical judgement of Hitler that the people of Maycomb, in spite of the prejudice they show to black people in their society.

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Daniel N. – Eng. 9 (1D-2) January 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Irony is employed by Harper Lee multiple times throughout To Kill A Mockingbird to emphasize certain points. In one instance, Miss Gates, the narrator’s (Scout) teacher, has a class discussion about Hitler’s persecution of Jews. Miss Gates says that “over here [in America] we don’t believe in persecuting anybody”, and then goes on to say that “there are no better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is a mystery to me” (Lee 281). However, Scout had earlier overheard her speaking with Miss Stephanie Crawford after Tom Robinson’s trial, and discriminating against him and blacks in general, saying that “it’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson, they were getting way above themselves, an’d the next thing they think that can do is marry us” (Lee 283).

This is a clear example of irony, as Miss Gates contradicts herself, discriminating against blacks, and then later speaking of democracy and not believing in persecution later to her class. She even agreed to Scout’s definition of democracy, “equal rights for all, special privileges for none” (Lee 281), even though the blacks in Maycomb County and America in general are blatantly inferior to the whites. Miss Gate’s talk of not understanding why Hitler dislikes the Jews is a clear contrast with how she feels about blacks. She seems to be unaware of this internal conflict though, and this is therefore an example of dramatic irony that Harper Lee employs to emphasize the discrepancy between her opinions, and the extent of persecution of blacks, which is quite equal to or even of a greater extent than Hitler’s persecution of Jews.

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Sian M. Eng 9 1D-2 January 10, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Harper Lee incorporates dramatic irony throughout the story of To Kill A Mockingbird. A situation that occurred in chapter 26 where Scout Finch’s primary school teacher Miss Gates said that “it was time somebody taught the blacks a lesson, they were getting’ way above themselves” (Lee 283), which was a clear contradiction of what she said earlier on in the book. At the beginning, Harper Lee had written that Miss Gates objected prejudice people, specifically Adolf Hilter because of what he had done against the Jews. And she was educating her students to be against persecution as Hilter’s actions were outrageous. Which makes the situation ironic as Miss Gates then was found discussing how Tom Robinson was deserving of his punishment, even though she was completely against it not long ago. But of course the Negro part of it affected her opinion and therefore she was obligated to be unsympathetic with Tom Robinson’s case.

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Kristy C. - Eng 9 (1D-2) January 10, 2012 at 8:12 pm

In To kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses situational irony to reflect the point of view of people in Maycomb towards Negroes. Miss Gates educated Scout and her schoolmates about Democracy being “equal rights for all, special privileges for none” and that they were a democracy. Miss Gates showed complete disapproval for Hitler’s actions and told the class “Over here we don’t believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced”, and believes that the Jews were good people, and doesn’t understand why Hitler would think the opposite (Lee 281). By saying this, she is contradicting herself because although she was against Hitler treating the Jews in such a manner, she is no different from him because of how she discriminates Negroes. After the trial, Miss Gates told Miss Stephanie Crawford that “it’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson” and that “they were getting’ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us”. It is ironic that she feels Hitler prosecuting Jews is unacceptable, but the prosecution of Tom Robinson is.

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Veronica L. - Eng 9 (1D-2) January 10, 2012 at 9:41 am

Harper Lee’s use of dramatic irony in Chapter 26 of To Kill a Mockingbird provided a reflection on Maycomb County’s behaviour towards black people. Miss Gates, Scout’s teacher, was educating the children about Adolf Hitler and his persecution of the Jews in Germany. She was completely against his actions, as she believed that “persecution comes from people who are prejudiced”, and “there are no better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is a mystery to (her)” (Lee 281). Ironically enough, although Miss Gates hated Hitler, she had no idea she was just as prejudiced against black folk as Hitler was against the Jews. She told Miss Stephanie Crawford that “it’s time somebody taught (the blacks) a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves” (Lee 283), not knowing she wen against her own word to the children about discrimination. As if that was not enough proof, Cecil Jacobs made a mistake in pronunciation and nearly said Hitler was “prosecuting” the Jews, and Miss Gates immediately “corrected” him, although he pointed out that was how it was written in the textbook. It seemed to show that Miss Gates immediately differentiated the prosecution of Tom Robinson and the persecution of Jews, but in reality, the case of Tom Robinson was a representation of an equally violent persecution of black people based on their race. To summarize, through Miss Gates’s comment on the prosecution of Tom Robinson, she contradicts her point on the unfairness of persecution and discrimination of others based on a stereotype or category.

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Alastair N. Eng 9 (1D-2) January 9, 2012 at 10:43 pm

In the book To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses the technique of verbal irony instead of the narrator, Scout saying it directly in the book. Because Scout is still young and has not understood the importance of equal rights and racism yet. Thats why she asked Jem,” it is not right to persecute anybody is it?” ( Lee 282) After Jem agrees to Scout’s question, the next question Scout asked Jem is how Harper Lee showed the hypocrisy of Miss Gates. After Jem agreed to scout’s question, scout asked ” Well, coming out of the courthouse that night Miss Gates was—— she was goin’ down the steps in front of us, you musta not seen her—- she was talking with Miss Stephanie Crawford. I hear her say it’s time for somebody taught ‘em a lesson.” (Lee 283) The two quotes scout asked Jem showed how ironic Scout’s teacher was. Miss Gates said persecution is wrong and after Tom Robinson gets persecuted, Miss Gates supports the whites. In conclusion, Miss Gates has set a bad example for her students, especially Scout.

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