Inequality and Prejudice in Harper Lee's Novel To Kill A Mockingbird

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How can the word “equality” be defined? Is there actually a definition which everyone can agree with? “The quality of being the same in quantity, measure, value, or status”; that is the explanation any dictionary may provide. The problem is, no one has the same way of applying this definition to the real life, and people have different perceptions of what equality really means. In Harper Lee’s novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, this idea of looking at equality from different points of view is one of the main themes and situations presented. Narrated by a young South American girl in the 1930’s, this book explores the several cases in which one can view the rest of the world as something beautiful, while others can opt to say it all looks dark…show more content…
She becomes very angry until Calpurnia, the Finch’s black maid, tells her to respect little Walter and control her upset emotions. Atticus also intervenes after this event, and teaches both Jem and Scout to not judge anyone until they have “lived in their skin” for a while. Regardless, many of their neighbors continue to look down on the Cunninghams, such Aunt Alexandra, who considers herself to be higher up the social ladder than many others. She tells Scout to stop talking to Walter Cunningham simply because “he is trash”. This is one of the many situations in which prejudice stands out in the book and is questioned indirectly by the author. One of the most disputed and controversial issues discussed in this novel is the subject of racism. Discrimination of black people was at one of its highest points during the years in which this book takes place, and is therefore presented very clearly and directly. Atticus Finch was a lawyer, and he was asked to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, in a trial because of an accusation made against him. Mayella Ewell, a member of another disliked family in Maycomb, claimed that she was raped and physically hurt by Robinson. Atticus defends Tom enthusiastically, providing clear evidence of his innocence by pointing out the fact that his left arm is useless and weak, making it unlikely that he was able to cause bruises on the right side of her face. Even so, he is found guilty of rape and is sentenced to death, obviously
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