As it was mentioned earlier, Atticus has a very demanding career. Tom Robinson, the young man Atticus defends, pays for the ignorant and hurtful stereotypes that are made in Maycomb every day. There is the fear of black male sexuality, brought about by stories of white women being raped and beaten by black men. "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, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash" (220). When the Ewell's charge Tom with rape, his decisions come not from facts of life, but the general classification and stereotypes of Maycomb. "The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box" (220). Others don't take the time to understand Tom, instead fearing and distrusting him. Tom isn't the only race in Maycomb that is victimized, however.
Atticus is a mockingbird for the Maycomb society. He has the correct attitude towards different races. In Tom Robinson’s case, he provides strong arguments Tom’s accusation and proves that Tom Robinson did not rape and harm Mayella Ewell. Even though Atticus failed to restore Tom back to Tom’s family due to racial discrimination existed commonly in Maycomb in 1930s, Atticus leads the society to take the first small step in the right direction in the battle against racial discrimination, according to the quote stated by Miss Maudie, “Atticus Finch won’t win, he can’t
Atticus says that even though Tom is innocent, the all-white jury will find him guilty anyway because he is a black man. The people of Maycomb are livid that their best lawyer would defend a black man who “raped” a white woman. Up until now, Maycomb has been displayed as a happy little town, it’s been seen as nothing but positive. The racist and unflattering side of Maycomb has been exposed as they attack the Finches. Even some of the Finches’ family members disapproves of Atticus’s choice. The town believes that Atticus defending a black man puts the Finch name to shame. They believed that he shouldn’t have done what he
As Atticus decides to defend Tom Robinson, who is a black man. Many citizens of Maycomb don't understand his choices for doing so. Atticus is questioned by Scout, she asks him “If you shouldn’t be defendin’ him, then why are you doing it?” Scout says that to Atticus because people from Scouts school have been telling her that defending a black man is a negative thing to do. By asking Atticus this, it shows that others see black people as lower class compared to others. As the majority of Maycomb see them that way, they don't understand why Atticus should and would defend them. Atticus sees the whole situation as him just “Simply defending a Negro,” because he sees everyone nas an equal which everyone else should too. As the citizens of Maycomb don't understand why Atticus is defending Tom, some finally start to see the trial just like Atticus. In chapter 15, a mob is called upon Atticus for defending Tom. It is led by Mr. Cunningham, who has a son named Walter, which Scout goes to school with. While the mob is after Atticus because of him defending Tom, Scout is able to stop the mob. She stops the mob by telling Mr. Cunningham about his son and how Atticus has helped their family, which then calms him down to see the mob isn't right. As Scout’s kindness towards Mr. Cunningham helps him decide to call off the mobs, it also helps him to see Atticus is a good person for defending and helping Tom Robinson because Atticus did the same towards him. Atticus’ choice to defend and help black people is hard to understand for many, butin the end it is important to realise why he choses to defend
Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, is a realistic story that deeply discusses issues involved with the 1930’s that still resonate today. The struggles of life are evident within the believable characters of Maycomb County which is a microcosm, reflective of universal issues. Along with the authentic characters, setting and style also helps to convey Lee’s controversial notions of racial and gender prejudice, and persecution of the innocent, discussing many other ideas within.
Mayella Ewell is living in a racist southern community in the 1930’s. During this time no one was treated the same because of their skin color or if they were intelligent. Mayella has one thing that makes her powerful, her race. Laws back then was harsh. Between white and Negroes, both were wrong and mean to each other. Whites had more power than the Negroes because of the history it has behind them. They were not considered to be equal citizens. Atticus even knows the trial should not be happening, he knew the jury was going to side on with Mayella because she’s white. As Atticus is closing his argument he says, “[The Ewells]....have presented themselves to you, gentlemen, to this court….confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption-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…”as said in chapter twenty. Mayella only goes through all of this because of her father.
The whole town of Maycomb is racist, which makes Atticus’s job harder trying to defend Tom Robinson against the word of a white man.Tom Robinson’s case is unjust since he is black and the majority of Maycomb revert to the stereotype that all blacks are immoral and criminals. “Quote” shows that it is a situation where little is possible to do when defending a black man because the town of Maycomb is deeply affected by racism they tend to only make decisions based on the race and so immediately think Tom Robinson is guilty, that he did indeed raped Mayella when there was so much evidence to prove otherwise. This is challenging for Atticus, since he has to persuade everyone to pretend there is no stereotype about blacks and that they are human
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is a complex literary work exploring several aspects of the human condition. Lee’s story is one based in the 1930’s, shortly before the Civil Rights Movement. Her novel ventures into the societal issues, such as racism and gender stereotyping, in their fictional town, Maycomb. One recurring theme throughout the narrative is the social adjustment of the citizens of Maycomb and the human race as a whole. Lee showcases the progress in social justice matters by using symbolism and motifs.
In Maycomb, a black man named Tom Robinson is on trial for raping beating up Mayella Ewell. From the beginning Mr. Robinson never really received a fair trial. The law states that someone should get a fair trial from a jury of their peers. However, in Maycomb this doesn’t happen. The Courthouse in Maycomb is filled with local white people. Two men say “You know the court appointed him to defend this nigger...Yeah, but Atticus aims to defend him. That’s what I don’t like about it”(163). This quote is important because it shows the overall attitude of Maycomb’s white citizens. One critical moment may have shown why the trial wasn’t a fair trial. Atticus proved that Tom Robinson was not involved in the attack. “His left arm was fully 12 inches shorter than his right and hung dead at his side” (186). This represented the physical
Atticus is a man with morals. When he sees a person, white or black in need of justice he is always there to help, no matter the cost. In Maycomb County when a black man is on trial he is automatically seen as guilty. When Atticus was chosen to defend Tom Robinson many of the people in the community took it upon themselves to pay him a visit. It was understood by everyone that Tom had no chance and some of the men in the county went to Atticus to see if he would drop the case. Atticus knows though that Tom is innocent and deserves to have a fair trial. “Link, that boy might go to the chair, but he’s not going until the truth’s told” (Lee 146) . Atticus demands justice no matter who it is or what they’ve been accused of. He understands what needs to be done to give those who have been wrongly accused an honest hearing.
In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, prejudice and racism are embedded in the regional psyche of Maycomb, a miniscule town in Alabama. The narrator interpolates injustice and racism in Alabama during the 1930s, largely through the eyes of Scout, who was a child during this time, however, the adult Scout occasionally interjects with some adult observations. Furthermore, the citizens of Maycomb are stereotyped pervasively throughout the book. In Harper Lee’s To Kill Mockingbird, examples of racism, sexism, and social class are used to demonstrate how prejudice can corrupt a community.
“But now he’s turned out a nigger-lover we’ll never be able to walk the streets of Maycomb again. He’s ruining’ the family, that’s what he’s doing’.” (Lee 110). The power of hatred is one so strong, that it imprisons the Finches and African Americans of Maycomb County. In Alabama of 1920 to 1930, segregation is an established action of the Southerners, it’s a lifestyle. The slurs passed from the mouths of white Southerners and ending with the shooting of a black man, the ways of Maycomb County are ones seen as either shocking or common in today’s eyes. To Kill A Mockingbird is an eminent novel by Harper Lee that illustrates the aspects of discrimination and prejudice, tolerance and courage during a time in America where racial inequality
While numerous citizens in Maycomb express how “Atticus[‘s] aim to defend him. [Is] what [we] don’t like about it”(Lee, 218) and that he has “got everything to lose from this... I mean everything.”(Lee, 195) Atticus full heartedly stands behind the fact that if he didn’t defend the Tom Robinson case he “couldn’t hold up [his] head in town... [and] couldn’t represent this county in the legislature.”(Lee, 100) This reveals the moral importance this trial means to Atticus, as he believes that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of their skin colour as “men are not to be trusted around women—black or white... a truth that applies to...no particular race of men.”(Lee, 273) Atticus’s personal definition of courage is revealed to Jem after he is forced to read to Mrs Dubose for an entire month. As defined by Atticus, real courage is “when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”(Lee, 149) Similarly, Atticus’s raw motives concerning the Tom Robinson trial run on the evident fact that he knew he was “licked a hundred years before start[ing]”(Lee, 101) Mr Robinson’s trial, but nonetheless defended him to his last breath. Atticus’s definition and actions correspond and show the reader how his values are congruent, no matter the situation. All in all, Atticus’s personal beliefs and values suggest to the reader
Social injustice has flooded the world and will continue to flood the world until someone stops all this evil. In Maycomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression, there is poverty and racism ruling over the South. Scout Finch has yet to realize all the evil surrounding her and her family. The evil that takes over Maycomb is the racism that lives in the hearts of its citizens. In To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, readers see a view of social injustices caused by racism through the Maycomb citizens who see the world through a veil of hypocrisy, which is shown by their actions in the way they talk down to Tom, and the truths of Maycomb’s society.
The unusually long time for the jury to come to its verdict, demonstrates the effectiveness of Atticus’ speech which motivated them to think about their views on race. He may not win the case but, Atticus succeeds in making an impact on the future of racism in Maycomb and succeeds in founding a place where one day people “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. Although Tom is eventually proven guilty, Atticus’ persuasive speech makes an impact on the society by revealing Tom’s innocence and the multitude of prejudice taking place in their