Racism and to Kill a Mockingbird

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Human, To Kill a Mockingbird Pages: 3 (1016 words) Published: January 21, 2013
Racism and To Kill A Mockingbird

In the book, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, racism proves to be a major theme. The touchy subject of racism has hung around the world for practically forever and has not ever fully ceased to exist in any society; it has only been toned down over time. Judging people on just the color of their skin, is a huge roll in this book just as it was in the 1900’s when segregation was flooding throughout the United States, as it is shown in the picture on the cover page.

Racism mainly occurs towards the end of the book and surrounds the trial of Tom Robinson, a black male accused of raping a white female. However, in chapter 8, Harper Lee explores the theme of racism through the symbol of the snowman that Scout and Jem build. The snowman consists of mud to begin with and Scout comments on it by saying, “Jem I ain’t never heard of a nigger snowman” (Lee, 72). Scout may not have realized she was doing it, considering that in that time it was common to refer to people of color in this way, but she was using a toned down version of racism by using the offensive word ‘nigger’. Racism tends to occur because people like to stick to cliques, if you will, of others who are more like they are. For example, girls who have pale or slightly tan skin, dress quite similar, and have the same interests or hobbies in common tend to stick to hanging out with one another and form a bias towards people who are not like them. This is what creates the unacceptance of others into social groups. To Kill a Mockingbird is such a successful book because “Lee’s famous and only novel… [shows] the way things have been, not only in real life, but also in the artistic treatment of the era” (Parker). This statement shows that Lee was just trying to prove the point of what society was like growing up and showing the dislike towards others in a person’s community just because they have a different ethnicity than that of themselves.

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