The Theme of Inequality in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

Decent Essays

Inequality is a theme that runs throughout all of history. Harper Lee uses the theme of inequality in her book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Tom Robinson must deal with inequality when he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit because no one will trust a black man over a white man. The Cunningham family must face discrimination because of their lack of money. Scout even faces inequality when she tries to play with Jem and Dill. The theme of inequality is a strong one in Lee’s book, and her use of inequality doesn’t only define racism, but also discrimination based on wealth and gender.
To Kill a Mockingbird is set in Maycomb County, Alabama in the 1930s. There is a myriad of families in this small county. Blacks, farmers, businessmen, and strong single women all call Maycomb County home. The book is told from the point of view of a little girl named Jean Louise Finch, or as many of the townspeople call her, Scout. Her father, whom they call Atticus, raises her with her brother Jem. A majority of the book deals with the trial of Tom Robinson, during which Scout begins to understand that not everybody is as fair as Atticus, raised Jem and her to be.
Unquestionably, the biggest form of inequality in To Kill a Mockingbird is racism against African-Americans. Scout never discriminated against blacks like the other people in town because of her interaction with Calpurnia; however she catches her first glimpse of racism after her father decides to take the case of Tom Robinson.

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