To Kill A Mockingbird Prejudice Essay

Show More

In the world people are always preconceived based on who they are or what they look like. Even though it isn’t as big of a problem in some areas as in others, we need to fight it. If we don’t then it will continue to get more serious and at times lead to death. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Alexandra tells her niece that she can’t play with a schoolmate simply because of his class. “‘You can scrub Walter Cunningham till he shines, you can put him in shoes and a new suit, but he’ll never be like Jem…Because—he—is—trash.’” (224). This prejudiced state of mind is the foundation for the plot events of the novel. By way of experiences, a young girl, Scout Finch, must learn about the part prejudice plays in the everyday life of…show more content…

Through her description of the church, Harper Lee allows you to know, without having to read any other section of the book, that the black people of Maycomb are of low class. The people of Maycomb are so prejudiced that they live in separate areas of the town from people who differ in social class.
Furthermore, there are two types of justice in Maycomb. There is formal justice, what the court or law decides, and informal justice, the decisions, or “verdicts”, the people of Maycomb make about other people. Both are often tacitly bound by a mindset of prejudice. When Jem is upset about the conviction of Tom Robinson, he asks his father how the jury could possibly do it, when he was obviously innocent. “‘I don’t know, but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it—seems that only the children weep’” (213). Atticus means that only children become upset over a black man being convicted simply because of his race. While the older people are so accustomed to it that it is not even unexpected, let alone unsurprising. Likewise, informal justice is very hard for Scout to understand. She questions her father about why the Ewell children are allowed to skip school even though it is illegal. As Atticus explains it, “‘Sometimes it’s better to bend the law a little in special

Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

  • Length: 1314 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More ↓
Prejudice is defined as an "opinion formed without taking the time and care to judge fairly".In the novel 'To kill a mocking bird' there are several themes present like growing up, bravery and prejudice, but the main theme in this book is prejudice.

Prejudice was a common problem during the early quarter of the twentieth century. In the novel 'to kill a mocking bird, this problem is evident in maycomb, the fictional town of alabama in southern america. In the book its not just a case of black and white but the entire novel is about prejudice in many forms including class gender and racial prejudice.in the novel we see these events through a young girls eyes scout.

In the book scouts father , atticcus, tells scout and jem "id rather you shoot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you'll go after birds.Shoot all the blue jays you want if you cannot hit them, but rememberits a sin to kill a mocking bird". In this quote the mocking bird symbolizes these two characters boo and tom because it does not have its own song. Because a mocking bird does not sing its own song, we charecterize it only by what the other birds sing.this exactly applies to boo and tom. Both of these characters do not really have their own songs in a sense, therefore,are charecterized by other peoplesd view points are are targets of prejudice.

The novel is set in the 1930's during this tiume the country was in the period known as the Great depression. Many people were jobless and homeless. Many people lived in shanty towns, with shelters made of sheet metals and scrap. All oover america it was common to see unemployed men and women riding the rails looking for work shelter and food. In 1931 a person working 55 or 60 hours in alabama would only earn $150 annually. Because of the shortage of jobs and how low paying they were, there were fights for these few jobs. The blacks and whites hatred got larger with competition for jobs.one of the most amous court cases in american history was during this time,it was the scottsborro trial. The scotborro trial was very similar in many ways to the fictional trial of tom robinson .

The incident which was the basis of the scottsboro trials began on march 25 ,1931 when a group of people were riding a train from tennessee to alabama.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird." 123HelpMe.com. 13 Mar 2018
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=162841>.

LengthColor Rating 
Essay on Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird - Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was written by Harper Lee in 1960. Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama, a city of about 7,000 people. She studied law at the University of Alabama and one year at Oxford University. After giving up working as a clerk for an airline she moved into a cold-water apartment in New York to concentrate on writing. She first handed this book to a publisher in 1957 but it was rejected so she took two further years to rework it before it was published as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in 1960....   [tags: Harper Lee Kill Mockingbird Essays]6279 words
(17.9 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Prejudice In To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee Essay - The prejudices present in the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, display the views of the Old South. Defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a prejudice is an adverse opinion formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge. A significant prejudice present is sexism against women. The segregation of social classes is also exhibited in the novel. Most importantly, racism plays a dominant role in To Kill a Mockingbird. Although very common in the South, the prejudices displayed are morally wrong....   [tags: To Kill a Mockingbird Essays]611 words
(1.7 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird Essay - Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird To Kill A Mockingbird is a novel which can deceive the reader into thinking that it is very simple. However, if the reader delves beneath the surface, she may find that there are a number of complex themes running through the novel. One of the central themes in this novel is the prejudice that was characteristic of southern town in the 1930?s. A variety of prejudices combine to form the character of the town of Maycomb. The three main prejudices encountered are those of race, class, and sex....   [tags: Harper Lee Mockingbird Race Essays]928 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
Essay about Prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee “To better understand a person you have to climb up inside their skin and walk around in it.” The quote previously stated by Atticus in the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is an unveiling of the upcoming forms of prejudice. The setting for the novel is a fictitious town called Maycomb. This town is situated in Alabama. The racial prejudice shown in the novel has a lot to do with the town being situated in the southern United States. The backwardness and narrow-mindedness of the community fueled racism in Maycomb....   [tags: To Kill a Mockingbird Essays]2869 words
(8.2 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
The Impact of Prejudice in Harper Lee's Novel, To Kill a Mockingbird Essay - The Impact of Prejudice in Harper Lee's Novel, To Kill a Mockingbird The prejudice seen in the fictional novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee corresponds with the real narrow-mindedness during this time period. A fair trial would be unlikely during this time period between a white and a black man. Tom Robinson was presumed guilty because of his race. Prejudice is “an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge” (Merriam); according to Lystra Moore Richardson of Yale University: “prejudice… was part of the very fiber of Southern life [during the Great Depression].” With these two pieces of information, it is derived that people formed judgment...   [tags: Kill Mockingbird]
:: 2 Works Cited
701 words
(2 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird Essay - Prejudice is defined as an "opinion formed without taking the time and care to judge fairly".In the novel 'To kill a mocking bird' there are several themes present like growing up, bravery and prejudice, but the main theme in this book is prejudice. Prejudice was a common problem during the early quarter of the twentieth century. In the novel 'to kill a mocking bird, this problem is evident in maycomb, the fictional town of alabama in southern america. In the book its not just a case of black and white but the entire novel is about prejudice in many forms including class gender and racial prejudice.in the novel we see these events through a young girls eyes scout....   [tags: To Kill a Mockingbird Essays]1314 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Essay about Racial Prejudice and Oppression in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird - Racial Prejudice and Oppression in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird 'Democracy,' she said. 'Does anybody have a definition?' ... 'Equal rights for all, special privileges for none' (Lee 248). To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee's only novel, is a fictional story of racial oppression, set in Maycomb, A.L. in 1925 to 1935, loosely based on the events of the Scottsboro trials. Unlike the story however, the racial discrimination and oppression in the novel very accurately portrays what it was like in the 1920's and 1930's in the south....   [tags: Kill Mockingbird essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
2110 words
(6 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Prejudice in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee Essay - Prejudice in To Kill A Mockingbird   Prejudice is a strong word.  In the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, a black man, Tom Robinson, was accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell, and was brought to trial.  There were distinct views concerning Tom Robinson's innocence – views influenced by prejudice. The townspeople of Maycomb believed in Tom's guilt while Atticus and the children believed in Tom's innocence.       The townspeople, from day one, knew what the verdict was going to be even though some of them knew deep down that Tom did not rape Mayella....   [tags: Kill Mockingbird essays]743 words
(2.1 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Essay on The Theme of Prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee Show how the theme of prejudice is explored through the Characters of Boo, Atticus and Scout. "Show how the theme of prejudice is explored through the Characters of Boo, Atticus and Scout." In the following essay I am going to show how the theme of prejudice is explored through the Characters of Boo, Atticus and Scout. Prejudice in the novel is directed towards groups as well as individuals. As the novel progresses, the children's changing attitude toward Boo Radley is an important measurement of their development from innocence toward a grown-up moral perspective....   [tags: To Kill a Mockingbird Essays]2095 words
(6 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Essay about Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird - Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird Works Cited Missing In today's society men, women and children experience prejudice in their lives, either as victims themselves or being guilty of using prejudice towards others due to differences between them. Prejudice is a preconception of a person based on stereotypes without real facts and discrimination based on gender, age and skin colour....   [tags: Papers]1389 words
(4 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]

Related Searches

Harper Lee         Prejudice         Common Problem         Mockingbird         Young Girls         Mocking Bird         Shoot         Racial Prejudice         Targets        




After leaving the train two white woman accused 9 african american men of raping them in an open car. There were several trials with differnet verdicts for the 9 defendants. The similarities to the fictional trial of tom robinson include the issue of race. In both cases black men wereaccused of raping white women in alabama in the 1930's. if the jury had found the men not guilty in either trial it would mean that the jury had taken the word of a black against a white. This was something that could not be allowed in the present society. In both cases the accuses used poor black men to occuse them of rape to cover up a secret.In the scottsboro case it was ruby bates and victoria pierce, who accused the men of rape to cover up the fact that they were involved in a criminal act when they left tenessee for alabama, and that victoria pierce was a known prostitute. In tom robinsons trial it was mayella ewell accusing tom of rape to cover up the fact that,mayella tempted tom,which was not acceptable in the maycomb society at that time, and that her father, bob beat her for it.

They were made after slaves were released, because they were still viewed as minorities. The jim crow laws were that african americans had to go to different schools , drink from different water fountains and even werent allowed to go to the same retaurants and bars as whites.

All these issues and others made blacks start a civil rights movement to rebel against being regarded as third-class citizens.

In the novel, Boo Radley is a victim of prejudice. Boo Radley is not accepted nor does he fit into Maycomb society because he is different from others. He is not normal so he is punished by a society that is very judgmental. Boo does not act like a normal person. In society, his actions are mysterious and abnormal. One day Boo was cutting the newspaper with scissors, and when his father passed "Boo drove the scissors into his parent's leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activity". Boo just sat there after stabbing his father. He did not apologize or feel sorry for his actions.

Boo Radley isolates himself from the people of Maycomb. Boo stays inside his home all day and nobody ever sees him. After some trouble with the law, "Mr. Radley's boy was not seen again for fifteen years". If Boo chooses to go outside, he will be unfairly viewed as a visitor from abroad because of his mysterious ways. Boo stays inside his home because he knows that his society will ridicule him.

Boo is the object of rumors and is viewed as the towns erratic figure. The town speculates what he does inside his home. People believe that Boo "went out at night when the moon was down, and peeped in windows… any stealthy small crimes committed in Maycomb were his work". The town would blame or accuse Boo for any little crime.

Tom Robinson is the main victim of prejudice in Maycomb because of his race. Tom is black and accused of raping a white woman. Being a Negro in Maycomb during the nineteen thirties was difficult.Because there were the jim crow laws.They were made after slaves were released, because they were still viewed as minorities. The jim crow laws were that african americans had to go to different schools , drink from different water fountains and even werent allowed to go to the same retaurants and bars as whites.

At the view of the white society, Tom Robinson is just a "sorry nigger," who committed an unthinkable crime. In the novel, Tom represents the black race in American society.Like Boo Radley, Tom Robinson is characterized by what the people of Maycomb county say about him. After being accused of rape, most of the people see him as an evil beast. Juring the trial the whites townspeople felt they could not take tom's side against a white woman. The white townspeople even showed atticus that they didn't want him defending tom. Atticus was toms lawyer. They did not want atticus to defend a black man against a white woman. The people even called atticus a "niger lover" because he was going to defend tom to the best of his abilities.

In the thirties a white person's word is superior to that of a black person's. Mr. Gilmer demonstrates this as he cross examines Tom on the witness stand. Mr. Gilmer questions Tom's word, 'you say she's lying, boy?'. This proves that even if Mayella is lying, the White community will believe her before the believe any honest or dishonest Black.

Tom Robinson is unfairly treated on the witness stand by Mr. Gilmer. Mr. Gilmer, the prosecuting attorney is disrespectful towards Tom. He treats Tom as if he is a child and refers to him as "boy" when he is in fact a grown man with a family. Dill realizes 'that old Mr. Gilmer doin' him thataway, talking so hateful to him'. Mr. Gilmer is also disrespectful to the Black race referring to them as "niggers" throughout out the trial.

Tom robinson was a victim of maycomb countys policy where an honest blackmnas word does not up rank up to a dishonest white mans word. This policy ended up getting him killed as he was convicted of a crime he did not commit.



Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *