Dan Novak Mr. Yeager English 9H 27 December The Bold Deeds of Atticus Finch From the stone ages to modern times now racism is still a continuous fire burning in society. To Kill A Mockingbird written by Harper Lee is a novel that has many similarities and symbols to our current government and laws. Atticus finch representing Tom Robinson, an African-American character that is wrongly accused of, imprisoned, and later killed for supposedly raping Mayella Ewell, helps make clear the problems in our society and how racism comes into play.
Tom Robinson, an innocent black man falsely accused of rape by Bob Ewell and his daughter, represents Lee’s message about justice for African-Americans in American society, specifically in the South, in the 1930s. She gives explicit proof as to the fairness of the court system when Reverend Sykes tells a confident Jem, “I ain’t never seen any jury decide in favor of a colored man over a white man” (Lee 279). This indicates that justice in court trials was not properly served and was unfairly favored towards whites. Robinson’s trial also reflects the motif of killing a mockingbird. Scout is told in the story that “it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird,” because they “don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy” (Lee 119).
Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird to describe her life experiences through the great depression. In the book she connects the Jim Crow laws with mob mentality, and racism. The connection to America’s history is how Jim Crow is used in the novel. Jim Crow was a set of laws to ensure that whites were superior to blacks.
Although the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, took place in the 1930s, it ties closely into the Civil Rights Movement. This novel displayed the obvious superiority whites had over blacks. It took place during a time when colored people faced discrimination, prejudice, and racism. When the book was published in the 1960s, it made whites furious, resulting in a lot of controversy. Harper Lee had a goal when writing, she wanted to show the relation between actual events that happened during the civil rights and incorporate it into her own novel to show how cruel colored people were treated, specifically when whites accused blacks of doing sinful acts.
Experts argue that cultural biases and stereotypes have been reflected through the increasing number of incidents of Caucasian law enforcement abuse towards African Americans. Examples of this are the killings of African Americans which occurred in Ferguson and Baltimore. A peer-reviewed New York Times article entitled “What Happened in Ferguson?” discussed the death of Ferguson resident Michael Brown. Brown, an unarmed black teenager, robbed a convenience store of its cigars minutes before being fatally wounded and shot an additional six times by young white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri during August of 2014 (Buchanan et al. 2). After the unnecessary, portrayed as “defensive” actions of Wilson, protests rattled the country regarding Caucasian police brutality towards African American men.
THE SCOTTSBORO TRIALS There were nine African American teenagers aboard a freight train during March of 1931 in Jackson County, Alabama (Alex 1). All nine of the teenagers were accused of raping two white women and were convicted by a white jury (1). All of the teenagers except the youngest were sentenced to death (1).
The only lower class in the town were the African American people living in the town. This ties in to racial discrimination that leads to unfair society because tom Robinson is a black man that is accused of raping Mayella Ewell even though evidence contradicts he ever committed the crime. He was found guilty due to the fact he is a black man and it’s his word against a white man’s word this is an unfair society because the people of Maycomb county had to side with the Ewells even though Tom Robinson is innocent because the Ewells are white. Furthermore, this ties in with the quote that jack said “The jury couldn’t possibly be expected to take Tom Robinsons word over the Ewells” (Lee. Page 117) because Tom Robinson lives in an unfair society where his opinion doesn’t matter in the face of the people in Maycomb county.
Explaining to Jem and Scout that the mockingbird only sings its heart out for us. This also goes into the court case that Atticus is working on. Tom Robinson is convicted of rape when it is proven that he did nothing and it was Bob Ewell that gave Mayella Ewell, his own daughter all the injuries. Tom Robinson was later sentenced guilty and only because of the racism in the town, which is completely unfair in society and the only one that really seems to recognize it is Atticus.
In To Kill a Mockingbird an innocent man by the name of Tom Robinson loses his life. “In our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins” (Lee 38). Tom Robinson was tried on a case of rape, and with him being black, his word had less of a say than a white man's. With that he was wrongfully convicted of raping a girl. No matter what evidence he and Atticus could pull together, it wouldn’t change the mind of the jury.
In a small community in Alabama, nine young African American men were arrested as they hopped of a train they had been ‘riding the rails on’. Two white women also followed them out, and accused the men of raping them on the train. Now, this case has many parallels with TKAM, and also represents what society was like in the period that Lee grew up in. In both trials, young black men were accused of raping a young white girl; both were sentenced to jail and/or death (we don’t know what Tom Robinson’s sentence was because he died before he could receive it); and both lots of black men/man were found guilty. In this way we know that there are for sure several consistencies between Lee’s childhood and current life, and what is depicted within the
The Scottsboro Boys Accused of a crime they didn’t commit, nine African American boys in 1931 were given death sentences for raping two white girls on a train coming through Scottsboro, Alabama. The youngest boy convicted in what is later known as the Scottsboro Boys trail was the one to hold the trial in a hung jury in a white trial. This trial was an important trail in America because it showed that the courts were racist towards African Americans by convicting them of crimes they didn’t do, listening to two stories’ to convict nine men and giving them harsh punishments. Nine African American men were hopping trains to find work and start a new life, but they got stop when two white men started a fight, that some of the nine men broke
The book To Kill a Mockingbird takes place during this time and even has a court case in it. This case is the case of Tom Robinson vs Bob Ewell. This case may be fictional, but it shows the racism that took place in that time period. Tom Robinson was a black man who was accused of raping and beating Bob Ewell’s daughter Mayella. There was a lynch mob that went after Tom, but was stopped by the main character,
Harper Lee’s reenactment of the 1930 culture was completely accurate. She portrays an environment where blacks are completely disregarded as humans. Lee also shows how the time period permits for behavioral cruelty. For example during the trial, Dill is upset when Tom Robinson is convicted guilty. Scout comforts him saying not to worry, that Robinson is just a negro.
“If there’s just one kind of folks, why can they get along with each other? If they’re all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other” (Lee 304). This quote is one of the most significant ones in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird because it is referring to the human race and how we are all practically the same, and yet people persecute one another because of racism. In the town of Maycomb, Alabama, one thing most people have in common is racism.