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Essay on Racist Society in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

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Racist Society in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

The way I perceive racism would be discrimination and prejudice against somebody with a different skin colour or ethical background. In To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses racial prejudice as the main subject matter either towards a single person (for example, Tom Robinson) or towards groups of people (for example, the black community in Maycomb.)

To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the 1930's. This is when the blacks have gained equal rights with white people. Bob Ewell is almost if not is, fearful of the blacks as he is seen as the lowest of the low, and he sees there is no definitely defined line between the black community and himself.
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We also hear that Jem is aware of Atticus' situation, there is evidence that Atticus avoids Jem knowing this when Jem asks 'They were after you weren't they?' Atticus replies with, 'No, son, those were our friends.' Atticus called them friends because he didn't want to cause any alarm even though Jem was aware of the situation.

Jem then shows knowledge of racial 'politicians', the Ku Klux Klan, by responding to Atticus' comment on that he had never heard of a gang in Maycomb. This is an early sign that Jem is growing up and able to see what is happening around him, that he doesn't just automatically accept what he sees.

In the novel, racism shows up at both sides of the spectrum, either physical racism or verbal racism. The most severe form of physical racism is in chapter 24 when Tom Robinson is imprisoned and murdered when trying to escape even though he was assured by Atticus that he was confident in winning the case. During his murder, he was shot seventeen times whilst trying to escape the prison. If this was a non- racist attack, however, he would have only been shot once in somewhere like the foot to bring him down. In some cases, verbal racism can be just as damaging as physical racism. Take Bob Ewell for example, even though he was the lowest of the low (known as white trash) he was still considered higher than any black person and quite often addressed them as "hey
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