Mockingbird: Racism and White Community

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Also victimized by racism and its repercussions, Helen Robinson, Tom’s wife, suffered in the aftermath of her husband’s trial and death. Widowed, she must raise her children, maintain her household and work to make a living for herself. Because she is black, a woman, and the wife of a man accused of raping a white woman, Helen has a very difficult time finding work. This is because of the racism in the white community of Maycomb. The only person who will hire her is Mr. Link Deas, Tom’s former employer. He does not really need Helen’s services, but fells bad about what happened to Tom and he is one of the few decent people in Maycomb where coloured people are concerned. “He doesn’t really need her, but he said he felt right bad about the way things turned out.” (TKAM, pg. 248-249). However, Helen does not escape the touch of racism. On her way to work one morning, Bob Ewell follows Helen, crooning foul words at her, for no reason other than she was Tom’s wife and he was racist. Although he does not attack her, Helen is terrified of him. “Thoroughly frightened, she telephoned Mr. Link at his store, which was not too far from his house…” (TKAM, pg. 256). Mr. Link Deas makes Bob Ewell leave Helen alone, but she is still frightened of him. Her life has become very difficult due to the effects of racism.

In a different way, Bob Ewell himself is destroyed by racism. The racism that sparked Tom Robinson’s trial leads Bob Ewell to harbour a grudge against Atticus and Judge Taylor, both of whom made him look foolish. He attempts, but fails to burgle John Taylor’s house. Later on, he attacks Atticus’s children to exact his revenge on Atticus. A grudge born of racism, courage born of whiskey, and arrogant pride lead to his attack on Jem and Scout, but Arthur Radley comes to the children’s aid. In the struggle, Bob Ewell is killed. It was the grudge he held based on racist beliefs that cause his death. Some may call it justice, some may not, but the irony is undeniable....
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