What is a voice? Is it a sword to attack, cut, manipulate and hurt?
And, cannot a voice be unjust, cruel and simply a bigot?
Can’t a voice also be a shield to confront, challenge and inspire us to stand up?
A voice with a sword is responsible for prejudice.
A voice with a sword can pollute a community with prejudice.
And a voice with a shield can challenge prejudice in a community?
In the novel [TKAM], Scout narrates,
“… in the secret courts of men’s hearts Atticus had no case. Tom Robinson was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed”.
When Mayella screamed the people of Maycomb heard a voice; and the voice they heard came with a sword.
The narrow-mindedness of the community has been fuelled by bigotry and racism which have existed for decades and repeated through generations until such time that the venom in their outlook became the norm.
The eventual trial of Tom Robinson represents a prime example of this racial prejudice.
The tone that Scout uses emphasises the tragic flaw of prejudice which in this case has blinded most of the community, including the jurors, uniting them all into one vast voice of injustice.
The use of transition from “no case” to “dead man” really focuses on the futility of the court case.
The sword had swung.
The honest and virtuous voice of Atticus provides an ideal foil for the contaminated town and how he had the strength to challenge the colossal ensemble of voices.
Here is a voice with a shield.
Atticus had a voice to endure the ridicule that arose from his decision to defend a black man in the segregated South.
Whilst Atticus protected Tom Robinson, his voice was also protecting the town from their own septic ruin. Whilst the case was lost, he did influence Miss Maudie when she articulates her own parallel views, in so far that,
“Atticus Finch won’t win, he can’t win, but...