Preview

Common Sayings and Their Moral Significance: Lessons Taught by in the Heat of the Night

Good Essays
Open Document
Open Document
933 Words
Grammar
Grammar
Plagiarism
Plagiarism
Writing
Writing
Score
Score
Common Sayings and Their Moral Significance: Lessons Taught by in the Heat of the Night
Common Sayings and Their Moral Significance:
Lessons Taught by In the Heat of the Night

Introduction

There are many lessons we can learn from In the Heat of the Night. The most important of these is that racism and segregation have negative effects on human well-being and social harmony. Common sayings represent people’s underlying moral codes. For example we like to say: “Appearances are deceptive.” and “What goes around comes around.” Each of the sayings below helps us to explore moral hazards presented by John Ball in his fascinating and powerful novel.

Don’t judge a book by its cover

When a man named Mantoli is murdered, Sam Wood, who is a white, racist police officer, believes the criminal must be a black man because the victim is white. Sam goes to the railroad station and arrests Virgil Tibbs because Tibbs is black and therefore guilty, at least in Sam’s opinion. Sam later discovers that he has made the mistake of arresting an innocent fellow police officer. Bill Gillespie, the chief of police, is also a white racist. He makes the same error for the same reason.

Later in the novel, Sam must inform the victim’s daughter, Duena Mantoli, about her father. On his way to the Endicott’s house where she is staying, Sam thinks to himself that Duena, like all Italian girls, will marry early and then become too fat. But Wood is wrong again, and this is another example of racial prejudice and superficial judgement.

Chief Gillespie arrests Harvey Oberst because in part he believes Harvey is ‘poor white trash’ who therefore must need money. Both Sam and Bill also suspect Virgil of the murder because he is carrying a large amount of cash. Of course they are as wrong about Tibbs as they are about Oberst. Harvey is also a racist who initially judges Tibbs by his colour and does not want to deal with a black man. Later, Virgil helps him get out of jail.

As we can see from these examples, hasty judgements and racial stereotypes enforce

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    The Evil Eye

    • 502 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Coleman and her husband could not leave their home without feeling discriminated against since they received “The Evil Eye” from countless people wherever they went simply because of who they chose to share their lives with. “Imagine yourself - if you dare - in my skin, unable to go anywhere, day or night, without anticipating trouble.”…

    • 502 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    In the Heat of the Night

    • 545 Words
    • 16 Pages

    The novel “In the Heat of the Night” introduces the reader to two characters, Virgil Tibbs and Bill Gillespie. Virgil Tibbs is a homicide detective at the Pasadena Police department, and Bill Gillespie is the Chief of Police for Wells County. In the novel they are shown as two completely opposite characters whose personalities differ almost completely. The basic aspect of the novel is how during the 1960’s people in the south underwent severe racism and prejudice. The novel also depicts how because of those racial tensions the way these two characters interact with each other and how that is evident. In the beginning of the novel we are introduced to Virgil Tibbs. He is shown as a wealthy, highly educated, and confident young African American. Virgil Tibbs is introduced to us as a prime suspect for the murder of Enrico Mantoli. Soon after we are presented that Tibbs is an officer and that is a shock to Gillespie. Virgil Tibbs is a very well educated man, who is calm and patient with others. An example of this would be when Gillespie is angry or disturbed by Tibbs actions, he acts very calm and does not ever get angry. Despite all the hatred and anger people have for him he still continues to act in a civilized and well-behaved manor towards his co-workers and the people around him On the other hand, Bill Gillespie is a totally different character. He is physically larger and older than Tibbs, is a racist, and has several temper issues. Gillespie believes that Tibbs is far more experienced at the job then he is. Gillespie understands that Tibbs knows what he is doing, but is not happy about the fact that Tibbs has been selected to investigate the case. The problem Gillespie has with Tibbs is that he is more educated and has a higher source of income then he does. Also, Gillespie’s initial reaction to having Tibbs work on the case was negative and demanded that Tibbs be sent to his train right away.. An example of this would “Who in hell asked you to open your big…

    • 545 Words
    • 16 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In the Heat of the Night

    • 587 Words
    • 3 Pages

    When Virgil Tibbs had come into the novel, Sam Wood's perspective on Negro's had suddenly changed more and more every day, and had started to diminish. It therefore confused him for a moment when he discovered within himself a stab of admiration for the slender man who stood beside him.…

    • 587 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In conclusion, by the way things happened with Virgil Tibbs, Bill Gillespie will change his racist ways. He will even respect his new friend Virgil Tibbs because of all the help he was to the case. On page 123, Bill Gillespie even starts to break the rules for him. “Gillespie knew without looking that the bench was marked white. However, it was past midnight and the station was deserted. I don’t think it would make any difference, he answered. If anyone says anything, tell ‘em I told you too.” Bill Gillespie will change his racist ways for his…

    • 465 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Rick Cabot Sociology

    • 1406 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Two black men, Anthony and Peter, leave a coffee shop and discuss racism in our society. They pass by a middle-class white couple, LA District Attorney Rick Cabot and his wife Jean. She clings to her husband, and Anthony points out that they’re the ones who should feel threatened, as they are the only black men in a sea of white people. They pull out guns, run up to the couple, and carjack them.…

    • 1406 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Virgil Tibbs experiences racism from Sam Wood in the story, In The Heat Of The Night. In this story, Enrico Mantoli, a host of a music festival, is found dead late at night. Sam Wood finds Virgil Tibbs, an African-American Northerner waiting at a train station at a late hour and arrest him in suspicions of murder because he is black. The author demonstrates this when he expresses: “If he had been a little lighter, Sam would have seen white blood on him, but his skin was too black for that” (Ball 15). This quote characterizes that Sam Wood is racist because he is…

    • 954 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Bob Ewell's Injustice

    • 151 Words
    • 1 Page

    Bob Ewell is the most responsible for the injustices Tom Robinson’s family has to face because he sues Tom and assaults his wife. The Robinsons are despised for being African American but “Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed [rape]”(241). Their family’s reputation deteriorates greatly when Tom is found guilty of rape, which he did not do. But even after Tom is killed at Enfield Prison Farm, Bob is not finished with the Robinsons yet. On the way to work one day, Bob follows Tom’s wife, Helen and “croons fowl words [at her]” (249). He continues to do this until Mr. Link Deas, her boss, threatens him with assault charges. His behavior is nonetheless startling, even though he won the court trial. He continues…

    • 151 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    In this town people were influenced by racial prejudice, and hatred, something that does not happen as frequently nowadays. In this novel when Atticus, a lawyer is defending a black man in court he says “She was white, and she tempted a Negro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable: she kissed a black man.” (Lee 272). The way a that Atticus describes what she did shows us how society in the past viewed people of different races and what they thought about interracial romance. Nowadays in modern society people would never think this way, or speak this way in court. This is an example of how our society has evolved, and how racial discrimination has become less of an issue in North America. Another quotation shows how the criminal justice system treats African-Americans and shows the extent of racism at this time; “In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.” (Lee 295). Nowadays, in modern society courts are a safe place that treats everyone equally, and are not influenced by racial prejudice. There have been cases of unfair trials, but not as many as in the past. This proof from the book shows readers how commonplace racism was in the past, and how people were treated unfairly. Today, people do not act this way and…

    • 810 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    There was a time where racism and discrimination was a huge issue. Back in those days, African Americans were treated unequal. There was no harmony between people unless they had the same skin color. Racism and discrimination still exists, but it is illegal to discriminate against anyone, including their race. In this paper, I will compare and contrast the theme of the short stories “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer and “The Welcome Table” written by Alice Walker. Both of these pieces have the same theme involving racial discrimination. They have many similarities as well as differences that I will discuss. These literary works can cause one to gain a better understanding of what many people have experienced in the days when discrimination caused so much adversity.…

    • 1467 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    The author's arguments differ greatly with mine when she discusses the meeting between Twyla and Roberta and the Howard Johnson's restaurant. While talking about what the two women have seen when it come to racial issues, Abel gives Roberta the upper hand during this meeting by referring to implying that her statements indicate a "distrust of white intervention [, and ] insider's perspective on power and race relations. However, I feel that Twyla's statements during this interlude signify a naiveté about the deeper racial issue, and Roberta's responses are plain and simple racism from a woman who…

    • 657 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    provides a forum in which racism can grow and become only a bigger problem. I…

    • 511 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    The world of race relations is complex. Race often leads to unfair personal value judgment one and other. A person’s character and intelligence is often determined and judge by their race, in strangers’ eyes. People of different races often has only one character in other people’s eye, and are often base on the stereo-types of that race. These misunderstandings lead to unnecessary conflicts between people of different races. Examples of unfair value judgment that lead to unnecessary conflict is shown in pervious examined text: “Crash”, “Othello”, and “To Kill a Mocking Bird”.…

    • 1101 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    We witness it through hate crimes committed in some of what are thought to be the safest places, like schools and churches. The Jena 6 controversy in Louisiana was a situation in which a white student was beaten up by a group of African American students after three nooses were left hanging on a tree where one of the African American students sat the day before. This tree was said to be a hangout for white students only ("The case of the Jena six: black high school students charged with attempted murder for schoolyard fight after nooses are hung from tree [Radio series episode]. ," 2007) This controversy became a national headline in the news because many saw it as African Americans being portrayed as inferior and the root of all evil. People did not see any wrong from anyone else but the African Americans and vice versa. This and other such issues leave people with the feeling that racism and discrimination is something that is among us all and subject to come out when we least expect it. Can literary works like the ones discussed open up the eyes of the readers to the feelings that hatred and racial segregation causes? I believe that each one of these literary works has a strong racial theme and each one can impact a reader in a way that was not expected. As we become strong and more in depth readers, themes like these will become more vibrant and obvious to see. Race and ethnicity is nothing more than an exterior color and difference in geographical location (Hallam, 2004). The authors make it clear that these difference cause lots of separation and heartache. These themes not only educate on historical experience but on what should be put to rest as an unhappy and disapproving issue that is ongoing in…

    • 2676 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    In a conversation with Gabe, Sam Perry, a black and life-long friend of the Anderson’s, asks, “What do they care about innocence, that mob? White man dead. Nigger must die” (Smith 336). This logic is reinforced shortly thereafter by Tom Harris, a white and prominent businessman. Sam recounts Big Henry’s alibi, attempting to prove Henry’s innocence; however, Tom merely replies, “That’s a good story you told, gives Henry a clean slate all right. Only trouble is, it’s a lie” (Smith 338). Even though Tom is one of Sam’s best friends, he is still in the mindset of a white person. Tom cannot fully relate to his friend, because they live in two very different worlds, and Tom refuses to truly see the people responsible for the…

    • 432 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Help-Racism

    • 425 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Martin Luther King once said “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” This particular quote is a great way to describe what Kathryn Stockett is trying to portray in her book titled “The Help.” In Stockett’s novel, the author demonstrates that racism divides with negative consequences through the setting, conflicts and characters.…

    • 425 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays