The novel To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee in 1960, explores the values and attitudes of America in the 1930's through the portrayal of relationships. Mockingbird was written to portray the period of the Great Depression, the Emancipation Proclamation, Jim Crow Laws and the abolishment of slavery. This is reflected in the text through the representation of individual, social and political relationships, which can be highlighted through further analysis of the morals and values associated with social class, racial inequality and familial bonds within these relationships. Lee's characterisation, themes and setting serves to demonstrate how literature can be used to effectively reflect a particular context in a way that conveys a message or moral. .
Morals and values are a substantial influence in the relationships that were established in American society in the 1930's. Mockingbird allows us to understand the relationship between parents and children during this period and the associated morals and values. An example of this lies in the relationship based on the values of respect and trust between Atticus and his children. Lee displays this when Atticus reprimands Jem for harassing Boo Radley. He uses direct language, such as "Tell me, " to question Jem, to which Jem replies obediently and honestly, "Yes, sir. " Atticus uses a tone of authority towards Jem and Jem responds submissively. This dialogue conveys the personal relationships between parents and children in the 1930's in America which (it can be argued) differs from the same relationships today.
The social relationships represented in Mockingbird serve to explore the values and attitudes in America in the 1930's. During this period in US history, many families prided themselves on their social position and their morals dictated a strong desire not to form relationships with inferior classes in fear of ruining their reputation.