Theme Of Segregation In To Kill A Mockingbird

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The American 1930s were a time of great racial and economic struggle. Segregation was abundant in the streets of Alabama, and families everywhere were in need of money. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee incorporates many real life experiences and historical events that directly relate to the book. Throughout the story, connections are made between the Jim Crow Laws, mob mentality, and the Scottsboro trials. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Jim Crow laws are present and extremely influential in the society of Maycomb, Alabama. The laws were a social etiquette that segregated black and white citizens and enforced white supremacy. Back in the early mid-1900s, educated men and religious preachers wrote and taught about how Blacks were inferior…show more content…
Any impressions of disregarding these rules were met with harsh punishments such as beatings, dismemberment, and lynchings (Pilgrim 5). Numerous instances of Jim Crow laws also appear in the novel. For example, Calpurnia, the family cook, goes to an all black church while the children go to an all white church. The way Tom Robinson is treated is also a part of the social etiquette. He addresses everyone as “Ma’am” or “Sir”, but is labeled as “Boy” in return. In addition to contemptuous behavior, Tom faces a predicament when Mayella throws herself at him. To touch a white woman is considered rape, but if he is seen in a suspicious situation, he will likely be arrested. Jim Crow laws are ever present in To Kill a Mockingbird, but they are not the only reality-based event that Lee uses. Mob mentality is also a key part of the novel. Mob mentality is not strictly mentioned throughout the book, but there are several important events that occur because of this unique behavioral change. Mob mentality is when a person experiences changes in behavior that only happen in large groups. These developments are capable of leading to violent or dangerous actions that an individual might not do…show more content…
Nine black teenagers were accused of raping two white women on a train pulling into Scottsboro, Alabama. Named after the town, the first trials had legal complications in which the town drunk participated in defending all nine teenagers. Eight of them were sentenced to death and the youngest sentenced to life in jail. This punishment was decided after one accuser recanted, and medical evidence showed that there were no signs of rape. Because of the legal difficulties, the case was sent to the Supreme Court. More information was found that proved the boys were on a different train car than the accusers. The court finally ruled four out of the nine defendants were to be put in jail, and it took 18 years for the last to obtain freedom (Anderson). Scottsboro happened in the early 1930s, when racism was very common everywhere in America. Correspondingly, To Kill a Mockingbird was also set during that time period. Many connections can be made between the Scottsboro trials and Tom Robinson’s trial. For example, Tom is accused of rape on dubious terms. All nine of the boys in the Scottsboro trials were also accused of raping two women (one of whom recanted) who were not on the same railroad carriage. Another connection between the two cases is that there is sufficient evidence that Tom did not commit the crime. Mayella is bruised on the right side of her face, indication that
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