We are not born with prejudice; we learn prejudice from our family, community and society at large. These institutions influence how we view the world. Such prejudice is shown in the true story ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, written by Harper Lee in 1960. To quote from this book, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin”. Referencing “To Kill A Mockingbird”, this essay explores prejudice using discourses of race and class.
During the Great Depression, racism was a common practice in the southern states of the US. Negros and those who opposed the intolerance were often discriminated by the rest of the bias and ignorant society, who believed in white supremacy and superiority over the other races. Maycomb, a racist town, exemplify this discrimination, imperiously judging others they view as being dissimilar from themselves. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, the author, weaves a brilliant story of prejudice, discrimination, and racism shown through the novel’s several characters and events, producing a mirror reflection of America’s racist society in the 1930’s.
What if one of literature’s most celebrated novels wasn’t as good as one originally thought? Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird tells the story of Scout and Jem Finch, and their friend Dill Harris, three children living in a small town in the deep south during the Great Depression. One summer, Maycomb County is thrown into racial turmoil when Scout and Jem’s father, Atticus, is appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell, the white daughter of the town drunkard. Although the themes in To Kill a Mockingbird center around equality and justice, Lee sugarcoats many of the elements of racism and ultimately ends up championing the Caucasian race as opposed to delivering powerful messages about diversity.
Prejudice, a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Maycomb, Alabama is a southern area that experienced a lot of prejudices during the Great Depression. In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee argues that prejudice’s affect a lot of different groups of people and is not necessary in society.
“Prejudices are the chains forged by ignorance to keep men apart.”(Marguerite Gardiner Blessington). Over the years, countless people have fallen in to the dark abyss of prejudice because they merely following the trend of society. Prejudice is exactly what it sounds like; its root words are firmly planted. Prejudice may be defined as the act of pre judging someone because of their race, religion, sex, ethnic background, or can be based solely on how they look. Prejudice is a flaw in society many have dealt with for centuries, but one race has suffered in the United States of America where “all men are equal”, more than any other race in history. If all men are created equal, how could we treat people of a different color so unjustly? It is a travesty that cannot be forgotten and that can not, must not, and shall not be repeated. In the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee states the truth behind a world with closed minds. She put the world into perspective through her commentary that is still relevant today. Through her writing, we see the compassion, sympathy, and tolerance, or the lack thereof, from all perspectives: a father, a racist man, a confused woman, children, negroes, and a dear lawyer named Atticus Finch.
Today, many people are faced with different forms of discrimination and prejudice. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee tells the story of Scout Finch as her family, her friends, and herself as they endure and encounter different types of prejudice such as getting ridiculed for being a tomboy, racism, and reverse racism.
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee is a timeless, touching novel that examines stereotyping and its consequences. The novel shadows Atticus Finch, a small town lawyer, as he defends a black man, Tom Robinson who is accused of raping a white woman in racist Maycomb, Alabama. In this small town, hypocrisy is brought out tremendously. Prejudice and stereotyping flows throughout this book. The idea of people as "trash" is discussed throughout the story.
Tom Robinson is accused of rape and abuse and there is no doubt about it. Bob Ewell is the man who accused him of hurting his daughter and everyone believed him because, unfortunately at that time the white man was always right when a black man was involved. “He stood up and pointed his finger at Tom Robinson. “-I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin’ on my Mayella!’” (Lee 231). Mr. Ewell thought that if he put all the blame on a black person then everyone would think it’s him and wouldn’t suspect that Mr. Ewell was the one who abused his daughter. The people of Maycomb are judging a book by its cover and and Mr. Ewell is using that to his advantage. Not only is Mr. Ewell racist but also his daughter, Mayella. “She said she never kissed an old man before an’ she might as well kiss a nigger...She says, “kiss me back, nigger” (Lee 260). Mayella keeps on calling him a “nigger” instead of his real name. She most likely takes after her dad.
Prejudice is transcribed often in literature to focus on society’s manipulative ways to influence people’s judgements of others. In one of the greatest American literature, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is able to demonstrate the various forms of prejudice. The novel is set in the 1930’s in a small town of Maycomb, Alabama, where the author exposes the reality of what it is like to live in a society of segregation. To Kill A Mockingbird analyzes the substantial expectations of people who live in the town of Maycomb and prejudice presents itself when people judge others when basing off of fallacy. The main ideas include the negative effects of falsely claiming information towards a group of people, the lack of equality between men and women, and the cycle of racism that causes social disadvantages. Harper Lee illustrates a fictional society demonstrating numerous counts of injustice from social, gender, and racial prejudice.
Tom Robinson was an innocent African American man who was brutally killed after an attempt to escape the prison he was sent to for being accused of raping Mayella Ewell. On August 4 Robinson appeared in trial with Atticus Finch. A white girl, Mayella Ewell, and her father had accused Robinson of raping Miss Ewell. They claimed he had beat her on her face and about her neck. Her right eye had been punched. Mr. Ewell claimed that it was Robinson who punched her but Mr. Ewell is left-handed and Tom does not have a single working muscle in his left arm. It was clear that Mr. Ewell had beat Mayella after catching her kissing a black man. Tom Robinson was not guilty, yet
Undoubtedly, Tom Robinson was one of the most important characters in the novel since he was an innocent man found guilty of raping a white woman. Tom was a victim of prejudice because he was unjustly convicted of a crime he did not commit based solely on the fact that he was a black man. He did not receive a fair chance of winning the case since the outcome was in favour of the woman that charged him with rape, Mayella Ewell. His defence attorney, Atticus Finch, was aware of this and so he exposed the state of mind many people in Maycomb have about black people to the jury: "The evil assumption that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women, an assumption one associates
What if this is happening in this generation? What if it is going on today? Wait, it already is, prejudice, and it is ubiquitous. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is a very significant, meaningful and powerful book. The main characters are Jem, Scout, Atticus, and Boo. It takes place in Maycomb, Alabama during the Great Depression. It takes one through the experience of growing up under extraordinary circumstances in the 1930’s. In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, uses the society of Maycomb to demonstrate the negative consequences of prejudice.
Tom Robinson’s case regarding a potential rape of Mayella Ewell justifies the fact that racism is present in Maycomb County. Atticus may be the only lawyer in Maycomb County that would defend a black man. This action shows that when one town's member decides to go off the normal path, the repercussions ripple off of Atticus’s decision. The jury also assumes that Tom is guilty solely because he is African American and does not focus on the facts. Racism and prejudice is obviously prevalent in this way. The idea of overcoming the color of skin is relevant and alive by Atticus's actions, showing how he and others can look on the inside instead of the
economic discriminationFrom the very beginning of To Kill A Mockingbird, author Harper Lee writes about discrimination and how it affects the story. Many issues such as sexism and economic discrimination shape the town of Maycomb and its inhabitants. These issues, along with racism, become pivotal during and after the trial of Tom Robinson. Scout and Jem have to learn to be good people despite being surrounded by racism and other forms of discrimination. Atticus often reminds Scout not to follow the way others think and act. In To Kill A Mockingbird sexism, racism and economic discrimination and shape the characters and plot.