Imagine a world where evil and unjust actions are based on the color of skin; a world where some don’t even realize that they are prejudicing. In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, these themes are present. People and how they commit evil, hypocritical, and unjust acts. We see these themes and great issues through the point of view of a child; the vigorous, youthful, elementary-aged Scout. Through this character Harper Lee shows the innocence of children, and what they go through in our inequitable world.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee has become a mainstay in American high-schools. This is a classic novel that has inspired many people of all ages. It had a big impact on how people viewed and treated each other. This is a story that teaches everyone about the value of honesty, love, friendship and trust. Every word written in this book has a truly deep meaning to it. The time period that the book was written in was during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. This setting was in a small town in Maycomb, Alabama with people who did not get along. During this time there was a lot of segregation within America and different races. To Kill a Mockingbird is about a family who believes in doing the right thing and being honest. There was a
‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee explores several different issues which are still relevant in today’s society. Harper Lee uses conventions within the novel to convey these ideas. The three main issues Lee explores are; Importance of Moral Education, Prejudice and Bravery and Courage.
After Scout confronts Atticus about “defending negros”, Atticus replies on how this decision is for his own dignity: “‘For a number of reasons’, said Atticus. ‘The main one is, if I didn’t, I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again.’” (123; ch.9). Out of the lots of prejudice in Maycomb County, Atticus is one that looks passed race and gender. He holds equal respect for those who abide by the laws of being human. Not much of population consist of people like Atticus, who is not just fighting for Tom for the sake of the town, but for his own virtue. It takes a lot of integrity to stand up for what is right during that time and that is exactly what Atticus is making an effort to do.
In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, injustice is a main theme that is reflected towards many characters. To Kill a Mockingbird, is a novel written by Harper Lee and published in the nineteen-sixties. Many characters in the story are treated unfairly in society due to racial or prejudicial attitudes. Overall these characters are innocent victims of injustice. Atticus, Boo Radley, and Tom Robinson are considered to be mockingbirds in the novel. A mockingbird was defined as a bird that did nothing wrong, but sang beautiful music for us to hear. These characters did nothing wrong and were treated unfairly in their town. In this different society, there are many factors that have had an influence on people’s perceptions towards others.
During the story Atticus is appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a Black man accused of raping a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. Even though many of Maycomb’s citizens disapprove, Atticus agrees to defend Tom in hopes he could give some justice to Tom. Later in the plot it is made abundantly clear that Mayella did not have relations with Tom, and was only trying to cover for her dad, Bob Ewell, who had beaten and raped her before, but before this information was found Tom was convicted and murdered. The trial and conviction serve as high points in the story because soon after the readers learn Tom is convicted purely based on his color of skin. “In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins” (Lee, page 251-252). The written discrimination put a black man behind bars based on false information and nobody blinked an eye. The lesson that Scout learns is applicable to all types of prejudice because people who are different from ones self may feel separated and that in order to hold ones power, processions, and status, privileged races or people much like Bob Ewell will justify their behaviors in order to keep the other races
Over the course of the novel, the reader watches Jem mature from age 10 to age 13, growing up from a brave and playful boy, to a calm, collected young man similar to the likes of his father Atticus. One of the most important life lessons that Atticus teaches Jem is to always do the right thing even if it’s the hardest thing to do. Atticus Finch is known as a man who is “the same in his house as he is on the public streets.” (Lee, pg. 61) He lived by morals, and always abade by them. After Atticus took up the court case of Tom Robinson, a coloured man, he had many people insult him and make fun of him. Atticus knew that he couldn’t refuse the case, as he stated “before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”(Lee, pg.140) Atticus took the job that no person wanted, especially knowing that he was going to lose the case before it even began. In doing so, Atticus shows Jem that you should always be a man of your morals, that you should always do the right thing even if it is the hardest thing to do. Although he has a hard time understanding Atticus’ actions at first, Jem begins to comprehend his father’s values in the world around him, with more mature eyes.
Atticus’ fairness also shows he is a good father because he believes that everyone deserves a chance to be understood and all have reasons for their actions. For example, after revealing the news to Jem and Scout of Tom’s death, he says, “Depends on how you look at it. What was one Negro, more or less, among two hundred of ‘em? He wasn’t Tom to them, he was an escaping prisoner” (Lee 235). This passage shows Atticus's fairness because he always tries to put himself in other people’s shoes in order to give everyone a chance at being understood, as he teaches Jem and Scout to do. He gave up his respectable reputation among many of the whites in Maycomb to defend Tom Robinson, and still speaks highly of the men who killed him. When he says this, he is trying to make the children see that the men who killed Tom did not know him as a person, but as a Negro who committed a crime, so cannot be discriminated upon for doing their job. Along with Atticus’ sense of fairness, his Teaching also characterizes him as a good father to Jem and Scout.
Earlier in the novel, Scout relates that Atticus views the Ewell family as “the disgrace of Maycomb” (33). However, as the Ewells are a white family, they are having a higher social status. During the trial, it is declared that Mayella seduces Tom Robinson, and her father, Bob Ewell, thought that his daughter would shift her warm feelings for a black man. In addition, Bob Ewell’s reaction to his daughter kissing to Tom Robinson displays the fear of miscegenation. Atticus, however, strives for justice. Atticus explains the ugly truth to Jem and Scout: “In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins” (251-252). Atticus shows disgust with white people taking advantage of a black person’s ignorance” (252). Tom Robinson is facing a trial and the death sentence because he is black. Furthermore, Atticus makes it clear to his children that racism exists and tells Scout and Jem: 'In our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always
There is one central idea in to kill A Mockingbird, the central idea of the story is how others judged anyone different than them without having information they were prejudiced. This was divided throughout the story as 2 different characters. The first character was Boo Radley he was
Scout’s school did not stress the importance of equality, and it showed in the town’s ignorance. But, Scout did not let school taint her perception of others, and she believed “everybody’s gotta learn, nobody’s born knowin’. That Walter’s as smart as he can be he just gets held back [...]. Nothing’s wrong with him. Naw, Jem, I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks” (Lee 304). Scout’s friend was going to get held back in school because he was poor and unable to attend as often. She stood up for him, because she thought everyone deserves an equal chance. However, a place that did not give everyone an equal chance was the courtroom where Atticus defended a black man accused of a crime he did not commit. After losing the case, Atticus consoles his children and tells Scout and Jem that “as you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it- whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, or how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash” (Lee 295). While others may see a situation such as this and say that the black man was at fault, Atticus sees through the color of a man’s skin. He wants to make sure his children do this, too. Growing up in the south, racism was expected to be seen. But, just because something is common does not make it right. Atticus made it a priority to teach his
To begin, Jem and Scout have a father named Atticus who is a lawyer and has such a good character, that even he defends colored people for crimes even though most know that if a black person is tried in court, not at anytime did he or she receive a fair and unprejudiced decision toward their fate. Based on Atticus and his overall character and actions, one can say that one of the most impactful and poignant lessons that Atticus ingrains into his children’s brains is to always live humbly towards life and live positively and politely. Several instances of Atticus being reserved and respectful and most importantly impacting Jem and Scout would be when he shot a dog with rabies when nobody else particularly wanted too and shot it dead between the eyes and never told anyone about being “the best shot in town”. It most left Jem in utter awe as Miss Maudie Atkinson, a neighbor of the
Harper Lee uses her novel to teach us important lessons from the characters presented in To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus, a fair and moral character, whose parenting style is unique, lined with honest and example, teaches us to follow his ways. Scout, an innocent girl who teaches us what’s important in life. Tom Robinson, someone who is ostracized for being African American, can teach us the importance of equal treatment and awakens us to our surrounding society. Lee’s construction of characters gives us perspective to issues in our society today, how they still matter and what we can learn from the novel such as compassion, justice and understanding.
He had announced in the schoolyard that Scout Finch’s daddy defended niggers. I denied it, but I told Jem” The Jim Crow Laws have unwritten laws that says that black people are always wrong when convicted.Even children who are in 1st grade understand that the Jim Crow Laws doesn’t affect them and that black people are not human.Atticus, being the intelligent man he is, tries to persuade the juries to show that Tom Robinson is not guilty.“The only thing we’ve got is a black man’s word against the Ewells’. The evidence boils down to you-did--I-didn’t. The jury couldn’t possibly be expected to take Tom Robinson’s word against the Ewells”Even though Tom Robinson is a good man, the Ewells are still white and Tom is still African American. The unwritten Jim Crow Law always brought the black man is guilty of anything he did when convicted.Atticus becomes an influential person to the black community for helping out a black man while he himself is white. Even without the Jim Crow Laws problems would be the
Growing up happens during the magical times of freedom given to children in their early years. Wise parents discern when freedom is necessary for their children, are very clear about their expectations, and determine fitting consequences for actions out of line. Harper Lee personifies this role of a wise and caring parent in the father figure of her novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch, a character made to mirror the author’s own father, is a lawyer and a well-respected citizen of his Southern Alabama town. Through Atticus, Harper Lee establishes a standard of good and evil, developing the theme of morality during his interactions. Atticus establishes right from wrong in most every relationship, especially with his children, his