It could be argued that Harper Lee has a different style of writing to other authors as she uses, minor characters to develop the identities of the major characters. She also uses this style of writing to give the scene and surroundings ore depth and emphasis, for example when Scout starts an argument with Walter Cunningham which develops into a fight due to the fact that Walter got Scout off to a bad start with the new teacher, Miss Caroline; helps us develop the identity of Scout, a tomboy, (the major character) and uses Walter (the minor character) to show us this. It also helps us develop minds image of a small piece of Maycombe that people will stick up for each other but will show their wild side if things don't go right or they are offended. Harper Lee uses a much wider variety of minor characters than major characters. An example of a major character is Boo Radley.
" Boo was sitting in the living room cutting some items from the Maycombe Tribute to paste in his scrapbook. His father entered the room. As Mr Radley passed by, Boo drove the scissors into his parent's leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities." From this extract it may seem that Boo Radley has little to do with the plot of the story and therefore a minor character, however Boo is a major character and as the plot develops Boo plays a very major character. Boo Radley's identity is developed by the over reacted stereotypical views from the majority of the minor characters who all have the view that Boo is one of the evilest men to ever walk the planet. But this stereotypical view is brought to question when the children, Dill's, Scout's and Jem's fascination for fantasy takes them to the extreme to try and get Boo Radley to come out and play with them. While attempting this and they think they have been caught in the act they flee and while fleeing Jem manages to get his trousers caught and tangled in the fence, with no time to spare Jem quickly discards of his trousers.
Later on in the evening Jem discreetly creeps out of the house and goes to retrieve his trousers, he returns and tells Scout to go to sleep. A few nights later he tells Scout that when he found his trousers they had been stitched back together, like something he would of done, also they were folded, as if someone was expecting him. Looking at the evidence it was most likely to be Boo. This view that it was Boo can be enforced by, that on the night of the fire when the children are engrossed by the fire, Boo with the children oblivious to him he puts a blanket over them to keep them warm. Harper helps us get a more detailed view of Boo by using minor characters and incidents to give us a more detailed view on Boo, that he is actually and loving, caring and child friendly person and his stabbing incident could have been an seizure or epileptic fit. An example of a minor character is the new teacher from the city who is going to teach in Maycombe, Miss Caroline.
"As I read the alphabet a faint line appeared between her eyebrows, after making me read most of my first reader and the stock market quotations from the mobile register aloud, she discovered I was literate and looked at me with more than just faint distaste."Miss Caroline went to her desk and opened her purse "Here's a quarter" she said to Walter "go and eat downtown today. You can pay me back tomorrow." Walter shook his head "None thank you Ma " am" he drooled softly." From these extracts the idea that Maycombe is a town that has a community in which everyone knows everyone and their ways are developed. Miss Caroline helps develop this scene by her lack of knowledge of the ways and folk of Maycombe. She also helps emphasize the point that the Cunningham's are poor and Walter couldn't pay her back, they are also embarrassed by their amounts of money but don't complain an get along.
Another idea brought from this jam-packed scene is that Miss Caroline underestimates the people of Maycombe, also Miss Caroline helps us get a clearer view on Scout and even though Scout is a tomboy she is still very intelligent for her age and quite easily top of her class and too advanced for it too. This scene and Miss Caroline's role as a minor character really emphasizes the fact Harper Lee's style of writing is using minor characters to develop the identities of the major characters. Harper Lee's impressive and developing style of writing is effective because is really helps us get an understanding of the major characters (without leaving out the minor characters) and the environment they live in. as explained throughout this essay Harper Lee uses minor characters like Francis to develop the personalities of the major characters like Atticus. While reading "To Kill A Mocking Bird" it may not seem totally obvious that Harper Lee writes like this, however at closer inspection this style of writing is actually happening before your very eyes, this idea may seem useless, but if Harper Lee's fluent style of writing is not obvious but discreet while reading the book, it is clear that Harper Lee can use an impressive style of writing, and develop the major characters using the minor characters through speech or scenes without letting it interact and destroy the fluency of her writing. Although in some cases this style of writing cannot be all it is cracked up to be.
Even though Harper Lee's style of writing is using the minor characters to develop and emphasize the personalities of the major characters, it could be useful if there was a slight more emphasize on the minor character's life and personalities rather than just really use them for developing the major characters. On closer inspection there are some characters that are really neither major nor minor in the story, for example, Aunt Alexandra and Judge Taylor. These two characters are neutral characters as they are developed by some minor characters or play too much of a major role to be minor but also they develop some major characters, e. g. Judge Taylor develops Atticus' character in Tom Robinson's trial, but is also plays too much of a major role to be a minor character.
In conclusion it is very clear that Harper Lee uses minor characters very effectively by using them to develop the identities of the major characters. Overall her style of writing has more positives than negatives and she can use it discreetly and not make it spoil or interact with the story, which is handy. The majority of the characters are minor so we can get more depth and develop the identities of more of the major characters. From all of the evidence it is incredibly clear that Harper Lee's writing style is very fluent, helps us get a deeper understanding of the major characters, gives the story more depth and emphasize and always keeps us guessing which route the story could take, Harper Lee has really used this style of writing to the full in this wonderful novel..