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To Kill A Mockingbird Influences

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Historical Influences on the Novel To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in the 1930s during the Great Depression. This was a dark and hopeless time for all who lived in the United States of America. Many real-life events were the foundation for Harper Lee when writing her novel. The Jim Crow Laws, mob mentality, and the Scottsboro trials are all linked to events that occurred in the novel.
The Jim Crow laws were a series of laws that were put into place so that African- Americans were sure to feel segregated and inferior. The Jim Crow laws forced segregation by making African-Americans attend separate churches, hospitals, schools, and parks. (Pilgrim) This was very unfair to them because they may have to travel farther
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By definition, mob mentality is the characteristics of a person when they are in a group setting. Most commonly, it is used in a negative sense, but not always (Smith). There are many demonstrations of mob mentality in everyday life. One example of mob mentality is drinking and smoking when in a group because others are also partaking in these bad decisions. Another example is a family going out to eat in a new, crowded restaurant. It would be inferred that this restaurant serves good food, so that one family is following all the others who are dining at the new restaurant. (Smith) Mob mentality can also be seen in the photograph by Lawrence Beitler. There are substantial amounts of people in this small town watching the lynching who look they just got off work. (Beitler; “Strange Fruit: Anniversary of a Lynching”) Some of these citizens probably never envisioned themselves at an event like this, but they just followed the crowd. This proves that people often will just go with the flow even if it is a poor decision. There are many reasons why people participate in mob activities. First, people feel peer pressure to partake in these activities. They also may feel the need to conform or fit in with the group. Finally, people may participate in mob activities because they feel safe within the mob. They might think that they will not get in trouble for whatever they are doing because they are in a large group…show more content…
There are two different stories of the events leading to the Scottsboro Trials. The true story, through the eyes and thoughts of the accused African-American boys, was that they were riding on a train and they got into a fight with two other white boys. However, two white women stated that the African-American boys raped them (Anderson). The case then went to court. The boys were given unqualified lawyers, and after the jury heard both sides of the story, they came to a decision. They convicted the African-American boys (Anderson). The Supreme Court then made them redo the case with better lawyers, and then it was realized that it was impossible that the boys raped the women because they were in completely different cars on the train. Even with this evidence, the boys were convicted yet again (Anderson). This was very unfair because the evidence of the car layout supported the conclusion that they did not do it. Eventually, after 18 years, they were all spared (Anderson). They were free but not without the price of losing some of the precious years of their lives due to inequality. Racism is one factor that caused these trials to be so unfair. The decision of the jury to seemingly ignore the car evidence that was in favor of the African-American boys showed that they were racists. Them being racists may have been due to having issues with change. Some people tend to have a need for structure, and when
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