How Does Harper Lee Present Racial Issues During the 1930s in the Novel ‘to Kill a Mockingbird’?

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 1692
  • Published : January 3, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
Harper lee has presented racism in the novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by describing how blacks live and are treated harshly. The court case of Tom Robinson, which is the main part of the story is a metaphor that Harper Lee has created of the situation in the 1960's. Things were not stable at the time and Tom's case is just one example of the racial discrimination the blacks were facing during this time. The racial tension in the 1930s was so serious that even when blacks did do well, they were still mocked. An example is when Aunt Alexandra said, “Jem's growing up now and you are too. We decided that it would be best for you to have some feminine influence.” Calpurnia was a female however Aunt Alexandra still over-looked this, because of her race. People were so biased and misguided that it didn't matter how good a job a black person did. Since there was such strong racism in Maycomb, there were excuses made for whites. Racism in Maycomb was everywhere. Any attempt to deviate from that way of thinking was unspeakable, and you were known as a 'nigger-lover'. Atticus told Scout: “nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don't mean anything - like snot-nose. It's hard to explain - ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody's favouring Negroes over and above themselves.” Most of the people in Maycomb were racially prejudiced, but those who weren’t were seen as having a heart. The 1930's were a turbulent time for race relations in America. Furthermore racial discrimination also took place inside family households. This is shown when Aunt Alexandra tried to get rid of Calpurnia from the family, simply because: “we don’t need her now.” On top of this, Aunt Alexandra got angry and frustrated when Scout told Atticus of how she and Jem went to Calpurnia’s church. Another factor to be considered is the incident that occurred when Calpurnia was entering the blacks’ church with Jem and Scout. Lula hated the fact that there where white children their and...
tracking img