To Kill a Mockingbird vs a Raisin in the Sun

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Harper Lee and Lorraine Hansberry are two very different authors, who wrote two very different works. To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel about how prejudice and discrimination can lead to an innocent man being convicted of a crime he didn’t commit just because of his skin color. A Raisin in the Sun is a play about how the value of a family can overcome racism in a new town and allow a family to prosper, even in the worst conditions. However, both of these works deal with racism and discrimination in similar ways. Conversely, Harper Lee, being a white author, cannot portray believable accounts of racism and black oppression as well as Lorraine Hansberry, who has personal experience and realism to make her work authentic. The emphasis of racism in each work varies significantly. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee overstresses racism and discrimination. First of all, she exaggerates prejudice, especially towards Tom Robinson. The prejudice against Maycomb’s black community is simply unrealistic, and Lee seems to be throwing the theme of discrimination into the reader’s face. “A third defect in To Kill a Mockingbird…is her sentimental and unreal statement of the Negro problem. Miss Lee is so determined to have her white audience sympathize with Tom Robinson that, instead of making him resemble a human being, she builds him up into a kind of black-faced Sir Galahad, pure hearted and with a withered right arm. Though the author doubtless did not mean to suggest this, her real point is that a good Negro…should not be convicted of a crime he did not commit” (Bloom's guide 62) Sir Galahad is from Arthurian legends, and is thought to be the knightly embodiment of Jesus. Building Tom Robinson up to be “a black-faced Sir Galahad” is making him seem like some kind of idol, but that is not realistic. Another over exaggeration of prejudice in this novel is the fact that racism is the main issue. Without the topic and theme of racism and prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird, the...
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