Racial Prejudice in the Bluest Eye and to Kill a Mockingbird

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In Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the reader is introduced to the theme of racial prejudice through the experiences of the characters Scout and Jem Finch. The story is told from the perspective of Scout. In Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye, the reader is also introduced to the theme of racial prejudice through the experiences of Pecola Breedlove and Claudia MacTeer. The story is told through the perspective of Pecola Breedlove, and Claudia MacTeer. Both of the novels show different ways of illustrating the same theme.

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, the reader sees the young and innocent children; Scout and Jem Finch become exposed to the racial prejudices of Maycomb. Scout is not like the typical young girl in M aycomb, and the reader can quickly determine that Scout is the way she is because of the way in which Atticus is raising her. Atticus allows Scout to climb trees and be a ‘tomboy’ and does not ‘weigh Scout down’ with social hypocrisies. In the beginning of the novel, Scout is a good-natured five year old girl who has no experience with the evils of the world. As the novel progresses, Scout encounters evil in the form of racial prejudice, “’Scout,’ said Atticus, ‘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 favoring Negroes over and above themselves. It's slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody.’ ‘You aren't really a nigger-lover, then, are you?’ ‘I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody... I'm hard put, sometimes – baby, it's never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn't hurt you’” (To Kill a Mockingbird, pg. 108). Scout is left to determine whether she will take her experiences from Tom’s trial and become a more optimistic, or if she will let the wickedness...
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