To Kill a Mocking Bird - Characters Experiences of Racism

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In Maycomb county, where Harper Lee has set her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”, racial discrimination is unfortunately the social norm. By following the events of this novel, Lee invites the reader to understand that judging a person by the colour of their skin is unjustifiable. Of particular significance are the proceedings of the court trial where the characters Bob Ewell, Tom Robinson and Atticus Finch show this important moral message from different perspectives. Bob Ewell perpetuates racial discrimination by falsely accusing Tom Robinson, a black man of raping his daughter, Mayella. His allegations are taken seriously because “when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins”. The people of Maycombe willingly believe the worst of black people. It is irrelevant that the evidence presented in Tom’s court case proved that he was innocent and could not have committed this crime. The reader is shown that discrimination is unjust through the actions of Bob and the obvious prejudice of the jury. By placing her novel in 1930s, Lee is exposing the deeply rooted history of the civil rights struggle in Southern United States of America. This is further emphasised by the suffering experienced by the casualty of Bob’s allegation. Tom Robinson is the victim of racial discrimination. Even though he is hardworking, honest and decent, Tom is a powerless object caught in an impossible situation. “A man ought to get a square deal … in a courtroom” is merely an ideal that does not extend to a “negro”. Not surprisingly, Tom becomes “tired of white men’s chances and preferred to take his own” when he attempts to escape from prison. The “seventeen bullets” used to stop him were not necessary and are further evidence of the prejudice that permeates throughout this society. For a human being, to be treated with such disrespect is deplorable. Harper Lee wants the reader to understand that Tom is wrongly judged by society according to the colour of his...
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