The Effect of Social Hierarchy in to Kill a Mockingbird

985 Words4 Pages
The Effect of Social Hierarchy in
To Kill A Mockingbird

Social classing systems, also known as social hierarchy have been around since the beginning of time. In such a system those of the upper class take advantage of the classes below them; whether it is kings and their servants or a boss and their workers. This social hierarchy has a profound effect on society and the events in Harper Lee 's novel To Kill A Mockingbird. There are four classes in Maycomb; they are distinguished in the Tom Robinson case and in the crowd who attend his trial. Due to the social structure of Maycomb, Tom Robinson, a black man, is unjustly accused and convicted of a crime he does not commit.

The society of Maycomb has four definite class structures,
…show more content…
There was no room at the public hitching rail for another animal, mules and wagons were parked under every available tree. The courthouse square was covered with picnic parties sitting on newspapers.” (Lee, 160). The Ewells, Negroes and the defendant, Tom, represent the lower classes, the trial made it clear that when a black man’s word is against a white, the white, no matter the social status, always wins. Atticus understands the fact that winning the trial is very slim to none and he explains that you just can’t give up “They’ve done it before and they’ll keep doing it again and when they do it-seems that only children weep.” (Lee, 213). Despite the man Tom is, the jury must accuse someone of the crime and choose the easiest man to blame, Tom Robinson.

The underling prejudice and social hierarchy of Maycomb County, sentenced Tom to life in prison, where he was shot and killed, for a crime he never committed. The class structure in Maycomb has a massive effect on the community and its people; even though it was evident that Tom Robinson was an innocent man, he was unjustly accused of something he did not do just to his class level; and finally, even with a fair trial it was show that a black man will never win against a white. Although the class system limited the chances of Tom’s freedom, his trial and the trial of man other Negroes will lead to a change in attitude and legal rights for Negros, for the rest of
Get Access