Prejudice And Discrimination In Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

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“Scout, I’m beginning to understand something. I think I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up in the house all this time…” (227). Prejudice and discrimination are major issues that are present in the town of Maycomb; Scout and her brother Jem are young children who learn about the disturbing existence of the bigotry that they were previously unaware of in their familiar southern hometown throughout the trial of Tom Robinson, an innocent African American who is accused of rape by a white woman. To Kill a Mockingbird introduces a world that harbors prejudice against some of its very citizens and describes how discrimination was a major flaw in society and still is a flaw present day society. The author, Harper Lee develops…show more content…
In the aftermath of Tom’s attempted escape from prison, which eventually led to his death, “Maycomb was interested by the news of Tom’s death for perhaps two days,” (240) as it was “typical of a nigger’s mentality to have no plan, no thought for the future, just run the blind first chance he saw” (240). The author’s application of this description distinctly portrayed how Maycomb’s warped perspective of Tom’s death was achieved through the racism that inspired many to believe all African Americans were stereotypical criminals and in Tom’s case it was no different. Critically, Maycomb’s prejudice shines through in this description of its lack of sympathy towards an innocent African American’s death and highlights ignorance as an alarming after effect of racism. Before the court had begun to issue its final verdict, ““Atticus had used every tool available in court to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men’s hearts Atticus had no case” (241) as “in our courts, when it’s a white man’s words against a black man’s, the white man always wins,” (220). The author’s description of the court’s ruling was definite and expected because as Atticus explained, society is biased, therefore the court of all white men were always partisan towards voting in favor of a white man without allowing any arguments against him to sway them. Even though Tom Robinson was not guilty and Atticus had strongly proven him as an innocent who was falsely accused of rape, but because discrimination was a factor in the final judgement, the consequences in society’s prejudice consequently led to the suffering of innocent individuals like Tom Robinson who received discriminatory treatment and trial due to their race. Descriptions of southern beliefs during the time period throughout the book develop and clarify the major theme of the
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