Racism, Justice, Social Expectations And Corruption

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Martin Luther King Jnr. once stated, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” This statement perfectly portrays the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. These characters are: Tom Robinson, Atticus Finch, Arthur (Boo) Radley, and Scout Finch. The themes in this novel are racism, justice, social expectations and corruption, these themes can be seen through the racist attitudes towards Tom Robinson, the unjust decision to charge Tom Robinson as guilty because of his race, the expectation of scout to be feminine and wear dresses and how they corrupt the law by acting upon their feelings not knowledge. In the novel, the character…show more content…
The people in court did not want to believe that a black man is capable of doing good deeds without receiving payment and only because of his race did they insist thoroughly that he was guilty. While Jem and Scout are in the courtroom, Reverend Skyes explains the racism occurring in the courts to Jem, “Now don’t you be so confident, Mr Jem, I ain’t ever seen any jury decide in favor of a colored man over a white man.” When Tom Robinson was giving his say on the things that happened and mentions that he feels sorry for Mayella Ewell with the intention of defending his actions, Gilmer replies with a sarcastic tone, “you felt sorry for her?” his tone, which is mocking and harsh, reflects the white racist beliefs of the society. The tone used in this quote said by Gilmer was only accepting because of the fact that he is a white man; it would have been unacceptable for a black man to use that tone. This is just another way that can be used to show racism. The society in the 1930’s when white people were seen as superior beings than black people is what causes the racism towards Tom Robinson in the novel. This event of Tom Robinson staying truthful in his time of challenge and controversy reflects the Martin Luther King Jnr quote, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” The protagonist in the novel
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