Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird Essay
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Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill A Mockingbird is a novel which can deceive the reader into thinking that it is very simple. However, if the reader delves beneath the surface, she may find that there are a number of complex themes running through the novel. One of the central themes in this novel is the prejudice that was characteristic of southern town in the 1930?s. A variety of prejudices combine to form the character of the town of Maycomb. The three main prejudices encountered are those of race, class, and sex.
The prejudice of race, in the novel, makes the words of a lower-class white woman from a ne?er do well family readily accepted against those of a Negro with an upstanding reputation. When…show more content…
Mixing of the races is simply not permitted in Maycomb society, unless one is either eccentric like Mr. Dolphus Raymond or too low in status to be of any concern.
These racial prejudices, of course, have disastrous consequences for Tom Robinson. Even though Atticus proves that Tom could not have raped Mayella, the jury convicts Tom, and he is sentenced to death. When Atticus tries to explain the biased verdict to his children he says that in a case of a white man?s word against that of a black man, the white man always wins.
An almost equally important prejudice in creating the caste system in Maycomb is that of class. The divisions by this prejudice are also clear. People like the Finches are at the top of the social hierarchy, and far below them are people like the Cunninghams, who are respectable, but poor. Jem explains to Scout that even further below the Cunninghams are the Ewells, and further below the Ewells are the ?colored folks? whom the Ewells despise. Jem assess that everyone but the blacks have someone to look down upon.
Within this caste system is behavioral standards for individuals in their specific social caste. People like the Finches have a ?postion? to uphold, while a Cunningham may be poor, but refuses charity or pity. Lee notes that the every town has families like the Ewells, who are an eyesore to the community.
The Ewells are avoided by the more decent people of
"To Kill A Mockingbird, On Courage", Prejudice, And Justice
In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee, Scout Finch, a six-year-old girl, in which the story is told/seen through the eyes of, goes through many changes, and probably the most dramatic and best-explained changes are in the courage, prejudice, and justice categories; Scout lives with her older brother, Jem, her father, Atticus, and their black maid, Calpurnia. Now, Jem is an out-going bright boy who finds many adventures with the Radley's and their house, he's very, well, he's just an ordinary, young boy who likes sports and loves to go outside on adventures. The Radleys are a family who never come outside, never make any noise, never talk to anyone outside of their house which everybody is scared to go near because they thought it was haunted or something and they kind of have a dislike to them because there are rumors going around town that Boo was just sitting down clipping newspaper articles when he turned around and stabbed his father in the knee and when he was at court his father took him inside the house and nobody saw him again, but they say that at night he goes around taking peoples cats or dogs and eating them or stealing peoples stuff.
Atticus is a lawyer and a well-respected man in Maycomb County (where the whole story takes place) and is a very great father and very intelligent, he's not very strict on his children unless he needs to be for some reason, so most of the time the kids do as they please. Calpurnia's the Finch's black maid who despite Scout's dislike for in the beginning is very nice and light-hearted and just a kind of like a mother to the children since their real mother died. Now, after that said, one of Scout's most dramatic changes comes in her understanding of the category of prejudice...
In the book, Scout reveals to her audience that prejudice, is a destructive force in any society. During the time that Mockingbird was written, racism
was acceptable. Racism is a key theme in Lee's book. Not only were those who were black, but also those who affiliated with blacks, considered inferior. Atticus, a lawyer, who defended blacks in court, was mocked. An example of this and some of Scout's growth in this category is when Mrs. Dubose (a neighbor to the Finch's) told the children "Your father's no better than the niggers and trash he works for". This strong example of how racism would control the lives of many people throughout the early 20th century.
The reasons why prejudice is so destructive to a community is each side thinks that they are better than the other side, which means instead of trying to solve the problem at hand they are getting divided by their race, as they have no interest in communicating with the other party. Back in the time period of To Kill a Mockingbird, black people were considered to be lower class, which caused white people to...
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