Gossip is defined as, idle talk, or rumor especially about someone’s personal affairs. This is pretty much constant in the story. Gossip plays a major role in the book “To Kill A Mockingbird.” For example when the town crowds around Mr. Radley’s house, Miss Maudie tells everyone that Mr. Radley shot at a negro. In actuality Mr. Radley had only shot in the air to scare off whoever was in his yard. Gossip also affects many of the emotions and decisions made by the characters in “To Kill A Mockingbird.” For example, when Scout found out that Boo Radley had draped the cover over her, she felt sick to her stomach. She felt this way because of the
things she was told about Boo Radley. The games the children played were based on the gossip they were told about Boo Radley and the rest of the Radley family. For example the roll playing game. Each of them played a different part in the story of the Radley family. The story that the children were playing out was actually gossip. The children did not actually know whether those things had actually happened. Another example is the when Dill dares Jem to touch the Radley house. First of all you can infer that Jem is scared to touch the house based on the fact that he doesn’t do it right away. Jem’s emotion is affected by gossip. He believes something bad will happen if he is to touch the house. Feeling the need to prove himself Jem runs to touch the house and runs back. Jem feels that he is proving something because of the gossip about Boo Radley.
Maycomb is a small county so gossip spreads much more rapidly.
The book shows how one gossip story can change when told to different people. For example, Miss Maudie explains that the reason Boo stays inside is because his parents are foot washing baptist. While Jem believes that he’s locked up in the basement. Gossip could possibly be one of the main reasons that Boo stays inside. Boo maybe afraid of what people think, and what they might do if he shows his face. Gossip is said to hurt people and this may be the main reason that Boo has not really shown himself in the story.
There are other examples of gossip in the story. For example the stories that spread when people found out that Atticus was defending Tom Robinson. Atticus is called a “nigger lover,” and all these other rumors spread ruining his reputation, and making life much harder for him and his family.
Based on what I have already read it is possible that gossip will continue to show up throughout the story. Gossip will probably have a major affect of the characters and storyline, because so far it has continued to be a very major component throughout the story, and it seems to be a common topic in conversations between characters. Gossip also might be a reflection on what the author experienced during her life. Maybe she was subject to gossip when she was younger, or maybe she still is.