“There is no greater disability in society, than the inability to see a person as more”-Robert M Hensel. The book To Kill a Mockingbird, explores the powers and prejudice of racism in the 1930s. During the Great Depression, a young girl named Scout, starts to notice more injustice within her town. Through her eyes, we witness the pervasive racism that exists in her community. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird uses conflict and characters to reveal the damaging consequences of a town that discriminates and the importance of standing up for what is right in the face of injustice.
Firstly, the southern town of Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930s, illustrates the deeply ingrained racism and injustice that fills the community. Inside of Maycomb there’s …show more content…
They witness the way the townspeople treat Tom Robinson and see that he is presumed guilty because of his race, and he is denied a fair trial. Scout then says, “Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed…It was Jem’s turn to cry. His face was streaked with angry tears as we made our way through the cheerful crowd. ‘It ain’t right,’ he muttered, all the way to the corner of the square where we found Atticus waiting.” (Lee 323) It’s after the trial that Scout and Jem begin to understand the racism throughout the town of Maycomb. They know that the verdict was a result of the injustice within their community. Although they recognize the bravery Tom Robinson showed throughout the trail. He maintained his innocence even in the courtroom with uneven odds. Later, Scout tells Mr. Raymond something Atticus tells her and Jem. She says, “Atticus says cheatin’ a colored man is ten times worse than cheatn’ a white man.” (201) Atticus is saying it’s cowardly to cheat a black man when they have no refuge in white society in the 1930s. Jem and Scout grow throughout the book and understand the effects of racism and injustice throughout the
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Scout, Jem and Dill wanted to attend Mr. Robinson’s trial, and they expected for the truth to come out, and they thought the real culprit of beating up Mayella would come out. Although, this experience shattered Scout’s idealistic worldview. Even though Atticus presented enough evidence that proves Tom’s innocence, the racist all-white jury still convicted Tom Robinson. Scout, and Jem, witnessed the injustice of the trial and experienced the harshness of reality. Furthermore, Scout’s aunt Alexandra’s words after the verdict deepened Scout’s disillusionment: “I told you that you should have come to me when Walter got into trouble,”.
In the modern world, we are surrounded by judgement and discrimination. Nearly everyone is faced with hardships and insults based on their beliefs, habits, interests, and appearance. In a time of such hatred, there is a handful of pieces of literature that have spoken truth through the ages. One such book is To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel by Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird takes place during the Great Depression in the fictional southern town of Maycomb, Alabama.
Harper Lee adds this to help the audience visualize the moral obligation and strong will Atticus has to guard Tom, who is at risk of facing an unfair trial due to his skin color. Moreover, he does not care about how defending Tom will affect his reputation, and this teaches Scout about the difference between the right and the easy decision. Later, Mr. Underwood explains to Scout, “Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men’s hearts, Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed.” (Lee 323).
As the story continues, the Tom Robinson trial ends, and leaves Jem and Scout with a lot to consider. One night in their room, Jem speaks to Scout about his thoughts on racism and equality. Jem explains, “That’s what I thought,
Even though Tom Robinson was innocent, Bob Ewell, who was white, still won the case. This hit the Finch’s hard because even though they hated the racial discrimination occurring, there was nothing more that Atticus could do to change the ways of Maycomb. While all of this was going on, Scout’s perspective shifted more to her father's beliefs instead of joining the mainstream cowardness of her
During the novel, Jem and Scout’s Father, Atticus, is asked to defend a young black man named Tom Robinson. Tom has been accused of raping a white woman, which is a crime punishable by death. Because Atticus is a deferential man of integrity, and pushes for what's right, he agrees to take upon Tom’s case, knowing the criticism and disapproval
Throughout the story, begins to notice the truth about Maycomb and the rest of the world. As the story progresses, Scout is able to depict how discrimination, racism, and segregation are present within the society that she lives in. This arises when her father, Atticus Finch, is representing an African American man, Tom Robinson, who has been falsely accused of raping a white woman. Robinson is put on trial and found guilty, thus showing Scout and her brother, Jem, that their town is not as innocent as it seems, consequently making them more knowledgeable about
Additionally, from other people’s perspective, Atticus has lost, his innocence because of him defending a Negro. However, it is not true because Atticus is a lawyer and he is doing his job without criticizing him. This incident made Scout ask Atticus that if it is right to defend a Negro. By this, Scout is able to gain the ability to look from new perspectives on how the world works in very early age compared to her brother, Jem and other children. Secondly, Jem is not completely disillusion until a guilty verdict is returned to Tom Robinson at the end of his trial.
This shows Scout's growth in understanding others. Also, Scout's experiences with the trial of Tom Robinson help her realize the unfairness inside society. She watches how hate and racism seriously harm the lives of innocent people. She writes of the trial, "It was Jem's turn to cry.
While Scout is less knowledgeable of the trial, she sees Jem and how “... his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each ‘guilty’ was a separate stab between them,”(282). Jem is watching his father go against the beliefs of the majority of Maycomb, while trying to prove an innocent man free of his accused actions. Jem puts himself in Tom’s situation, fully able to comprehend the importance of the case. He takes the pain Tom Robinson must be experiencing into himself, knowing how this verdict is changing someone’s life forever. Jem’s mature knowledge and awareness makes him a compassionate person, which is what Atticus had always aspired for his son to be.
Jem, Scout, and the friend Dill attended the trial. Growing up in an non racist home did not let them see the way every other white person saw it. The white folk did not see Tom, Atticus’s defendant, deserving a fair trial because he was black. Atticus knew this that, “Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed”(Pg. 276). Even so, he defended him to the best of his ability for more than just a life, but for respect and understanding.
In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Jem, Scout, and Dill’s innocence is destroyed causing them to lose their carefree and happy self after witnessing the ignorance and racism against the African-American citizens in their hometown of Maycomb. Prior to the traumatic events, the children believe everyone in Maycomb is friendly. They did not realize the racism occurring in their town until Tom Robinson’s trial. After spectating the Tom Robinson trial, the children’s view of some of the people in their town change because of their hatred against black and the injustice in the courtroom. Tom is a black man convicted of raping a white girl and despite the evidences that are on Robinson’s side, he is found guilty and is sentenced to
While Scout is reading Mr. Underwood's editorial she finally understands that, “Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men’s hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed” (275-276). Prejudice is very difficult to overcome, and what Scout realizes is that there is nothing that her father, a very talented lawyer, can do to help a black man who is suspected of a crime. The mere fact that society was prejudiced against black men to begin with, is the verdict. Tom was guilty not because he committed a crime; Tom’s crime was that he was black.
After hours of waiting, the jury came back in. Scout explains how “A jury never looks at the defendant if it has convicted, and when this jury came in, not one of them looked at Tom Robinson… Judge Taylor was polling the jury; ‘ Guilty...Guilty...Guilty’”(211) When Scout and Jem hear the verdict, they are distraught. As they were walking home, “It was Jem’s turn to cry.. ‘It’s not right, Atticus’”(212)
After hearing from Mr. Underwood that Atticus’ children are sitting in the colored balcony Atticus tells him to go home and eat supper, he adds that they can return to the courtroom after they eat. Tom Robinson is found guilty of Rape. Chapter 22: Jem finds thinks that the verdict is unfair and hearing about what will happen to Tom causes Jem to break down and cry. Jem has a different opinion on the people of Maycomb after the trial, before he used to think that the Maycomb people were amazing but after the trial his opinion takes a 180 turn.