How Does Harper Lee Criticize Hypocrisy

How does Lee strongly criticize hypocrisy in the novel?

Several of the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird are harshly treated for their hypocritical beliefsThe Missionary Circle proves to be a gossipy, hypocritical group, willing to support the Mruna tribe in Africa while trading barbs against Maycomb's African-Americans. . Harper Lee is particularly tough on Scout's two teachers, Miss Caroline and Miss Gates.

Firstly, Harper Lee makes use of Mrs Merriweather to strongly criticize hypocrisy in the novel. At the Missionary Circle, Mrs. Merriweather was complaining about the plight of the poor Mrunas in Africa, but just a few moments later, she calls Tom Robinson’s wife “darky’s wife” which is an insensitive racist remark. She also proceeds to criticise the work of her black maid, stating that “There’s nothing more distracting than a sulky darky” and that she was doing Sophy, her Negro maid a favour by employing her. She also says that, “I tell you there are some good but misguided people in this town. Good, but misguided. Foilks in this town who think they’re doing right, I mean.” This is especially ironic as she is insulting Atticus, in his house while eating his food. It is amazing that Mrs. Merriweather does not recognize her seemingly straightforward hypocrisy. Just a short while ago, she was complaining about the poor Mrunas in Africa not receiving enough help, then she does a complete turn-around and complains about Atticus Finch helping out the blacks in Maycomb and insults her black maid. The use of Mrs. Merriweather's hypocrisy greatly helps in Harper Lee's denouncement and criticism of unjustified discrimination. It highlights Mrs Merriweather’s racist and prejudiced nature, which is again ironically contradicting to her Christianity which supports love and care. Furthermore, Mrs Merriweather was supposedly the “most devout lady in Maycomb”.

Next, Harper Lee also makes use of Miss Gates to strongly criticize hypocrisy in the novel. "Jem, how...