Hypocrisy In To Kill A Mockingbird

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The lives of blacks in To Kill a Mockingbird especially center around Atticus, with the grateful, almost worshipful attitude they have towards him revealing how he is portrayed as a “white savior”, while blacks are shown as incompetent or helpless, despite his doing little to actually further the fight against racism. One striking example of Atticus’s depiction as a savior occurs when a rabid dog is discovered in Maycomb. The sheriff, Heck Tate, is called upon to shoot the dog, but he hands over his gun so Atticus can shoot it instead, despite his protests of not having held a gun in thirty years, saying, “‘I’d feel mighty comfortable if you did now’”(96). The dog itself is used as a symbol for Maycomb, while its rabies symbolizes the town’s…show more content…
By striking down the very notion of taking a stance to change the law, Atticus is proving that he is not entirely invested in his fight against racism, instead taking a defeatist attitude. His reply also demonstrates another instance of hypocrisy in the matter of combating prejudice: he turns his back on his belief in persevering regardless of the odds in this instance, acting apathetic towards change when it seems clear to him it will take too long a time to pay off. The cause he outwardly supports still benefits him in a way, of course, which is clear after the trial in which Atticus fails to keep Tom Robinson from being found guilty, when the blacks sitting in the colored section of the courtroom stand up to pay respect to him: “All around us and in the balcony on the opposite wall, the Negroes were getting to their feet”(211). Regardless of his failure, the black community admires Atticus for his efforts, but is portrayed meanwhile as unable to help themselves. That Atticus is depended on by the entire community for help, without any in-story hints that the African Americans are also contributing to their own cause, reveals that yet again he is considered the only “competent” person in the…show more content…
The novel stifles the opinions of black characters and keeps their voices blanketed, despite the major events in it being significant to their community, and it casually disregards racism when it appears in those the main character holds in high esteem, with said main character being treated as a savior, even though he never puts in a full effort to reduce bias in both Maycomb and the judicial system. Of course, Lee’s novel has made an indisputable impact on the country, but it cannot be considered the heart of the movement toward diversity and acceptance in modern literature-- rather, a starting point, progressive for its time but still lacking the wholehearted belief that “all men are created equal”, as is reflected by Atticus. Perhaps, through its shortcomings, To Kill a Mockingbird will remind others who have already concluded that they are not biased or racist to actually examine their own actions more closely and see what they still have yet to achieve, so they will avoid falling into the trap of thinking that they-- and those around them-- are already faultless, just as Jem Finch once made the mistake of thinking “‘Maycomb folks [are] the best folks in the
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