To Kill a Mockingbird

Topics: Mental disorder, Disability, Psychiatry Pages: 4 (1326 words) Published: May 14, 2012
To Kill a Mockingbird:
Prejudice against Citizens with Mental Disabilities
As racism, discrimination and prejudice against citizen with mental disabilities has been a part of our culture for many decades, it seems as we have found peace with all of this after many years. During the early nineteenth and twentieth century people where not at peace with citizens with mental disabilities, for they were being mistreated and institutionalized for having mental disorders. Many did not see people with mental disabilities as equal citizens, or even helpful to the community even though they were just as equal as everyone else. They were discriminated on badly during the 1950’s and 60’s just as much as African Americans were. Unlike back then, today this would be frowned upon not including citizens with mental disabilities. Although in To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee highlights how there is prejudice going on against people born with mental disabilities, her purpose for writing this show the social norms, and the cultural context during the time period of the novel taking place with such a strong hidden message for citizens. Prejudice of people with mental disabilities is an ongoing event in To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee highlights this throughout her writing in many different ways. Lee presents us with a character Boo Radley, born in the South back when racism and prejudice was taking place. Boo Radley is not institutionalized, but locked up in his own home. He is unable to leave and be a normal citizen like everyone else. Although, many have not seen Boo they describe him as a monster. “Boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that’s why his hands were bloodstained- if you ate an animal raw, you could never wash the blood off. There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time” (Lee, 12.)...
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