January 21, 2013
Belief Without Basis
In the words of Anthony J. D’Angelo, “If you believe that discrimination exists, it will.” The novel To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee, is set in the early thirties in the deep south of Alabama. Various characters are subjected to the old-fashioned ways of discrimination and inequity often found in such a setting. The main protagonist Scout attempts to grasp the concept and learns to live with prejudice in her life. Meanwhile, other characters struggle on a daily basis to find acceptance and, more prominently, justice. This novel contains various situations in which several personalities are persecuted as a result of their race, age and socio-economic standing. Undoubtedly, the unjust and dehumanizing effect of prejudice is one theme in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Firstly, in this novel a person’s age plays a large role in the amount of respect he/she is given. Children in particular are not thought of very highly. For example, Mrs. Dubose hassles Scout and tells her that she will grow up to be trash and most likely work in a low paying job. She goes on to say that there will be “not only a Finch waiting on tables, but one in the courthouse lawing for niggers” (Lee 135). Mr. Avery’s accusation towards Jem and Scout in reference to the layer of snow covering Maycomb County is another example of discrimination against children. Mr. Avery approaches the children and explains that it “hasn’t snowed in Maycomb since Appomattox. It’s bad children like you makes the seasons change” (Lee 87). Lastly, Scout’s teacher, Mrs. Caroline, makes it clear that she is unhappy with her superior knowledge. It upsets her that not all children are as dumb and clueless as she may perceive them
to be. Scout explains how the situation came about “after making me read… she discovered that I was literate and looked at me with more than faint distaste” (Lee...