Even though Atticus had done a convincing job of proving Tom Robinson to be innocent, he still suspected the jury would still be against Robinson because he is black. In one last desperate plea with the jury, he told the jury, “Gentlemen, a court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on this jury” (20). Atticus stated that all men are equal under the law. All men are created equal, a phrase Atticus quoted from Thomas Jefferson in his closing remarks. Finally, he states, “A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up” (20).
Atticus says this right before the trial, telling his kids that the court will be biased and they will most likely loose. This example clearly shows that in a Alabama court no one is equal when there is a racial bias present. Also, another example of social inequality is shown by a question asked by Scout. Scout asked Miss Maudie “why do people ‘like us’ not serve in the court”, Miss Maudie then says “ women like us don 't serve in court, they consist of white men”. This example shows social inequality because the law was not enforced by everyone, just white men.
The author presents this idea through irony, setting, and characterization. This book gets its point of how injustice blacks were through irony because in court you are supposed to have a fair trial. However, in the Tom Robertson case it is a social rule to always believe a white man over a black man. Atticus states “Our courts have their faults, as does any human institution, but in this country our courts are the great levelers, in our courts all men are created equal.” (205) this supports by showing people like to think Tom Robertson was given a fair trial but you can’t call it a reasonable trial with all white men as the jury and the amount of inequality against blacks during this time. It’s ironic and it’s especially not what we call justice.
Bob Ewell’s word, a man despised by all the citizens of Maycomb, is still more trustworthy than Tom Robinson’s, a man who has done nothing wrong other than being born black, in the eyes of Maycomb. Atticus acknowledges this fact when explaining to Jem why the jury convicted Tom Robinson: There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads—they couldn’t be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.” (Lee 252) This is a testament to the way racism and prejudice can plague society. Even though the jury knew that Tom Robinson was innocent and that Bob Ewell was lying, they still had to convict Tom Robinson just because he was black.
A lot of the dominance that white people exert throughout the novel takes advantage of how near and dear names are held. Sixo argues with schoolteacher, and even though he is in the right, is still the recipient of a beating: “Clever, but schoolteacher beat him anyway to show him that definitions belonged to the definers—not the defined” (Morrison 190). This passage exemplifies how the white owners were responsible for determining what was fair and what was not, simply by designating things as unacceptable. The nomenclature that slave owners used was demeaning and acted to undermine the importance of a slave’s existence. Mr. Garner went on to describe his slaves to another owner: “Y’all got boys,” he told them.
A second piece of evidence supporting the unfairness argument is the disadvantages/advantages perpetrated by racial inequality. We can see this in a quote from the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, “There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads- they couldn’t be fair if they treid. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s word, the white always wins. They’re ugly, but these are the facts of life.” This evidence shows that one side is favored because of whatever aspect, not just color, and an “advantage” is given. Also, this strengthens the need for action whenever we see racial, or whatever, inequality, because it is morally correct, leading back to my central idea in this dichotomy of action or inaction.
It won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name. Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of African-American women in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence. Celie, the protagonist and narrator, is a poor, uneducated, fourteen-year-old black girl living in the American South.
The Prejudice of Maycomb Prejudice is an unreasonable opinion formed without enough prior knowledge to be fair and completely accurate. This happens in How To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and it takes place during the 1930´s in Maycomb, Alabama. Prejudice is shown by the jury when Atticus gives more than enough information for Tom Robinson to be proven innocent. But the jury shows prejudice when it comes to blacks. Gender prejudice is shown when they won´t let women be a part of the jury.
People often hesitate to make changes from the fear of being looked upon differently. In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the character of Atticus is a white male who is a lawyer by profession. He is assigned to defend an innocent black man in a rape trial, but he faces disapproval from the society and challenges to overcoming racism, and to keep his children from its negative influence. The main theme in To Kill a Mockingbird is that outcasts like Atticus and Scout try to make changes in the society even though it is unlikely for them to overcome the odds and succeed. Atticus Finch is an outcast in the society because he is doing what he believed in, by defending a black man in a society pervaded with racism.
This is a quote from the trial of Tom Robinson. It is said to Jem by Reverend Sykes: “Now don’t you be so confident, Mr. Jem, I ain’t ever seen any jury decide in favor of a colored man over a white man…” (Lee 179). This quote shows disparities within the court system based on race. Reverend Sykes knew that Tom would lose simply because of his being a black man being accused by a white man. Institutional discrimination as a term explores both implicit bias and systemic disparities (this is not to say “the system” is wholly at fault.
That brings about a great majority of racist white men. The jury in Tom Robinson’s case is made almost wholly, if not entirely of them. The only people in the novel who clearly challenge this stereotype, or status quo, are Atticus Finch and Dolphus Raymond. This makes it not only possible, but fairly effortless for this group of men to have the power. Before the trial begins, Scout and Jem can’t find seats downstairs, where the white people sit.
During the trial, Jem and Scout are disappointed when the jury, convicts the obviously innocent Tom Robinson simply because he is black and his accuser is white. The realization that there is true evil within their society shakes Jem to the core. Jem, like Atticus, holds a strong belief in the goodness of all people, but after the trial he reevaluate his understanding of human nature.
One more assumption that is made in this novel is that African Americans are to be treated as less than white men. Tom Robinson, for example, is proved guilty in his trial for being accused of raping Mayella Ewell just because he is a black man, even though the evidence clearly shows that he is innocent. In Atticus’s closing summation, he says, “You know the truth, and the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women—black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men. (204)” This quote is saying that black men themselves are not a problem, but that it is the whole human race that should not be trusted.
There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads- they couldn’t be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s word, the white always wins. They’re ugly, but these are the facts of life” (Lee 295) - Atticus Finch. To Kill A Mockingbird, a novel set in the 1930’s in Maycomb County when racism was more often seen than today. A town with a racist society filled with many white racist individuals.