The Great Depression By Harper Lee

1244 Words5 Pages
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information … and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation" (Herbert Spencer). Humanity’s obstacles are principally derived from ignorance, exacerbated by the refusal to alleviate it. The ignorance of these obstacles, by extension, is our greatest downfall. Optimists will criticize pessimists for negating the positive, but they may fail to appreciate the negative, consequently failing to mitigate it until it plagues society uncontrollably. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird illustrates ignorance and resulting discrimination in the small southern county of Maycomb, Alabama. Set during the Great Depression, the novel is…show more content…
During Aunt Alexandra’s missionary tea party, Mrs. Merriweather discusses her newfound sympathy for the Mrunas. She emphatically states, “The poverty … the darkness … the immorality–nobody but J. Grimes Everett knows” (230). “Poverty” and “darkness” denote plightful, destitute living conditions, a situation comparable to that of Maycomb’s disenfranchised black community. She proceeds to voice her opinion on Tom Robinson’s wife, declaring, “If we just let them know we forgive them, that we’ve forgotten it, then this whole thing will blow over” (231). Mrs. Merriweather advocates that the white community “forgive” Helen and the black community, as though they are mutually culpable for Robinson’s alleged crimes. Her arrogance and hypocritical attitude suggest ill-founded preconceptions of supremacy, as she fails to realize the white community’s role in Robinson’s conviction. During the Current Events period of Scout’s class, Mrs. Gates denounces Hitler for his atrocities. She asserts, “Over here we don’t believe in persecuting anybody” (245). Rather than denying the existence of persecution “over here,” Mrs. Gates claims that Americans do not “believe” in persecution – they morally reject it. Despite this, Scout recalls later that “[she] heard her say it’s time somebody taught [black people] a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves … ” after the trial (247). This “lesson” likely entails subjugation; Mrs. Gates verbally dehumanizes black people. She is oblivious
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