Billy Graham said, “Racism and injustice and violence sweep our world, bringing a tragic harvest of heartache and death.” Harper Lee depicts this in To Kill a Mockingbird by illustrating racism through Tom Robinson’s unjust trial. The novel is set in the 1930s in a small southern town in Alabama called Maycomb. In the town, a black man named Tom Robinson is accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell. The people of Maycomb are quick to accuse Tom due to his race. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses the motif of racism to convey the theme that African Americans were dehumanized and not given equitable treatment during the 1930s in Alabama through Tom running away from the Ewells at the time of the alleged assault, the jury convicting Tom, and talk of Tom’s death being expected of him.
Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird famously said in his closing arguments: "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 no particular race of men." (pg 232) What Atticus is trying to convey is a foreign concept to most people in Maycomb county. Atticus is trying to convey a point of equality and no prejudice in a world of social inequality which, as one can imagine, didn 't go over so well. To kill a mockingbird tells a story of a county whose morals are masked by the great depression, a county whose judgment is masked by racism and social stigma.
Social status is the position of a person, a group within the society. In racism, there have always been problems of social status and labeling. In a society or environmental culture, African-Americans were always positioned or ranked at the lowest level within the society, and they were always labeled as the criminals and the bad guys. Which is similar to the story of Killing the Mockingbird. Why would Tom Robinson be labeled as a rapist right away without strong proofs of his innocence?
The Great Depression, caused by the hardships in the 1920s, further separated the people on social levels. Harper Lee shows this in her novel, which took place during the midst of the Great Depression. Social injustice was shown because of the unfair treatment of the colored Americans against the white people, no matter their working ability. The Cunninghams mainly showed the social problems caused by the stock market crash because of all the hardships they faced as a result of the crash. Finally, the Great Depression not only caused economic problems, it also greatly separated the townspeople from one another, causing social
Discrimination is the central theme when it comes to the early and even the mid-1900s. What is discrimination? The exact definition says: “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the groups of race, age, or sex.” When reading To Kill a Mockingbird many incidences of discrimination are portrayed throughout the book. It is set in the mid to late 1930s during the period of the Great Depression. The main incidents that occur throughout the book are about a trial of a black man named Tom Robinson, treatment of a strange man named Boo Radley, and the treatment of Scout the narrator.
In the 1930’s, racism, classism, and prejudice became more evident in people’s everyday lives. In Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, she demonstrates this sore subject in a small town called Maycomb, Alabama. Lee presents Maycomb as a southern town, bursting with gossip and encompasses the traits of a one-sided community. Overall, Maycomb despises the African American race and refuses to treat them as equals because of their skin color. However, Lee created the main characters, Jem, Scout, and Atticus, to be different.
One example is when Jem and Scout go to a blacks church. “Lula stopped, but she said, “You ain’t got no business bringin’ white chillun-- they got their own church, we got our’n. It’s our church, ain’t it?” Calpurnia said “It’s the same God, ain’t it?” (Lee 158). This tells us that just because Jem and Scout are white they have their own God and religion. Calpurnia said that they both have the same God.
Working Title In her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee exemplifies the theme of racism and how it impaired and blemished the citizens of Maycomb County. One figure that Lee uses to represent racism is the “mad dog,” Tim Johnson. When Tim went out of control and became absurd and perilous to Maycomb County, every character in the novel knew that something had to be done about it. Like Tim, racism can and will eventually get out of control. When Atticus shot and killed Tim, this portrays as if Atticus is killing racism as a whole.
Prejudice is dislike, hostility, or unjust behavior deriving from unfounded opinions. To Kill a Mockingbird is a book written in 1960 that takes place in Maycomb County in 1930 during the Great Depression. Prejudice is most responsible for injustice in To Kill a Mockingbird because prejudice is Maycomb 's identity and many people such as Tom Robinson, Mr. Raymond, and Boo Radley are all innocent victims of dislike, hostility, and unjust behavior derived from unfounded opinions and bias from Maycomb 's inhabitants. The prime victim of injustice in this book is Tom Robinson because he is black he is mistreated with racial prejudice from the people who inhabit Maycomb County as well as the court 's jury. One night at the Finch 's landing after Atticus communicates to Jack about parenting, Atticus talks to Jack about the doomed future of the case.
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
Clearly, this was the human response to discrimination, as they are now fearful of interfacing with whites due to the immense segregation between the two races. The whole scenario of To Kill A Mockingbird integrates the advantages of a white citizen’s living conditions and the unfairness felt by the colored people in the community. However, both demonstrate the lesson that you cannot judge someone by their skin color and race, as it is more about what kind of character is represented through their own actions and
A book on this topic, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, explains how the criminal justice system “Intentionally targets poor uneducated black men.” Michelle Alexander , author of The New Jim Crow, claims that the prison system is a racial hierarchy and reform is ineffective, the only true solution is to dismantle the prison system altogether. This claim seems drastic but