Peer Pressure In To Kill A Mockingbird Analysis

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Peer pressure heavily influences Maycomb citizens throughout the novel, often pertaining to racism. One night, Jem and Scout go out late in the evening to find Atticus after he leaves the house for an unexplained reason. They find him in front of the jailhouse facing a mob angry about his defense of a Negro named Tom Robinson. In this mob, Scout sees Mr. William Cunningham Sr., the father of a friend at school. She is later upset about the fact that Mr. Cunningham almost hurt Atticus in his hurry to join in with other men in their potentially harmful activities. Atticus explains that “A mob’s always made up of people, no matter what. Mr. Cunningham was part of a mob last night, but he was still a man” (210). Though Mr. Cunningham could have…show more content…
At the end, “Judge Taylor was polling the jury” (282), which concludes that Robinson is “‘Guilty… guilty… guilty… guilty’” (282). Not one person, it seems, admits that Robinson is most likely innocent. His race decides for them, because they understand no other way to think than in a racist manner. Because nearly every white person in Maycomb, jury or otherwise, speaks freely about their belief that Robinson is guilty, these men couldn’t or wouldn’t go against the flow and vote according to their true opinion of the plausibility of his innocence. Some time later, after talk about Tom Robinson’s court case has calmed down, Scout talks to Jem about something that she witnessed at school earlier that day. Her teacher Miss Gates repeatedly denounces Hitler, condemning his prejudice, but she then makes a racist comment to Miss Stephanie after school: “‘I heard her say it’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us’” (331). Although Miss Gates is from Winston County, a place that tried to secede from Alabama when Alabama tried to secede from the US over slavery, she falls into the typical Maycomb mindset when she moves there as a…show more content…
Arthur “Boo” Radley is a seemingly minor but subtly impactful character in Lee’s book. According to rumor, he joined a gang, was convicted of some relatively minor crime, and was supposed to be sent to a state boarding school, but his father refused. Boo once, while cutting up newspapers, stabbed his mother in the leg with scissors and continued calmly scanning the papers. His father convinced a judge not to send Boo to an asylum, so he was kept in his house, never seen again by the community, and became the source of horror stories for children. The flames of gossip are, as usual, fueled thoroughly by Miss Stephanie Crawford and tend to be ridiculously twisted: “Boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that’s why his hands were bloodstained” (16). The general consensus in Maycomb is that Boo should be left alone - though Dill, an outsider, breaks this rule routinely - but rumors could be spread about him to an absurd extent. Anyone living in the county knows how to treat this strange member of their community, and those who behave differently are scolded - if they are children like Jem and Scout - or scorned. When Tom Robinson’s trial comes around, the entire county - or at least, the entire town - goes to see the event, making a sort of spectacle of it. It’s a totally public event, and something that

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