top-rated free essay

Effects of Intolerance in Society

Oct 08, 1999 932 Words
In society, many people tend to reject those who are different. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee presents a number of situations that reveal the effects of intolerance on other people's lives. The characters in the novel who were treated with a lack of intolerance were Boo Radley, Atticus Finch and Tom Robinson. By observing the effects of intolerance on people's lives, the children gain sympathy, respect and understanding for its victims. <br>

<br>The children gain sympathy for Boo Radley when they observe how others reject him. Ever since his teenage years, Boo had been a prisoner in his own home because his father kept him locked up as a form of punishment. As a result of his isolationism, Boo gained the reputation of Maycomb's mysterious man. Town folk have created rumours about Boo for a source of gossip. Miss Stephanie, known as the "neighbourhood scold", told the children that "Boo drove the scissors into his parent's leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities" (Lee 11). Jem Finch was another culprit who succeeded in spreading rumours about Boo Radley. The young and mischievous Jem told Dill that "[Boo] dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch" (13). It appeared that the townspeople were blinded by their own stupidity by harassing the helpless Boo Radley. Boo was never given a chance to prove his humanity to the town. Although they assisted in tormenting Boo at first, the children ended up feeling sympathetic toward him. "I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley stayed shut up in his house all this time... it's because he wants to stay inside" (227). In conclusion, we could recognize Boo as the silent hero of Maycomb who was driven away from the cruelty of society. <br>

<br>The children gain respect for Atticus when they see how he is treated with intolerance late one night. Atticus had always been one of Maycomb's most respected men before the Tom Robinson's trial. Atticus was at the county jail to protect Tom Robinson when he was joined by angry townspeople. These townspeople wanted to kill Robinson but Atticus stood his ground by telling them "you can turn around and go home" (151). These townspeople let their hatred for Tom interfere with their wise judgement. Atticus, being the intelligent man he was, treated them with respect and never once lost control of himself. Old Atticus proved to his children that he was a brave man to stand up to over ten angry men ever though they showed him total lack of respect and tolerance. Jem reassured himself that his father would be fine by saying "he's all right, let's go home" (150). The children learned from Atticus' decision making and his strength to defy all odds to stick by what you believe in. Atticus was a man of strong morals and expressed as a pure and good-hearted citizen of Maycomb County. <br>

<br>The children gain understanding for Tom Robinson as they witness how he was treated with intolerance. In the county of Maycomb, black and white people are separated by a wall of cruel prejudice. The black people were always accused of crimes, treated unfairly and looked upon as lower class people. racial slurs were a part of a normal white man's vocabulary. Bob Ewell, in particular, told Atticus "I seen that black nigger yonder" (173). In the novel, the character Tom Robinson was accused of raping a young lady named Mayella Ewell. He was brought to court and trialed. Tom pleaded his innocence by saying "Mr. Finch, if you was a nigger like me, you'd be scared too" (193). Although Atticus was clever during the trial, it concluded that he wasn't clever enough to prove Tom's innocence to a white jury. Tom was convicted of raping Mayella solely on the fact that he was a black man. The whole black community was affected by this trial because they saw themselves as a family that had to stick up for eachother. As a result of this trial, Tom was murdered for trying to escape at a prison. His life was ruined because of racism. The children have come to realize that the world is not always a pretty place. They have come to understand how black people aren't tolerated and they realize that sometimes nothing can be done but you should never give up hope. It is easy to associate the mockingbird symbol to Tom Robinson, a harmless man who becomes a victim of racial prejudice. He was guilty of nothing but being in the wrong place at the wrong time. <br>

<br>By viewing the effects of intolerance on people's lives, the children gain sympathy, respect and understand for its victims. Boo Radley was a misunderstood man that had been harassed throughout his entire life. The children observed how he alienated himself from society and they felt sympathetic toward him. Atticus was a strong, dedicated person who tried to enforce justice in the courtroom for human rights. His diversified character was an asset to the success of the story. Reality of the 1930's was evident with the story behind Tom Robinson. He was a victim of racial discrimination which eventually led to his death. The children gained understanding from Robinson and realized that nothing else could have been done for him. In conclusion, intolerance destroyed the lives of people yet it taught a valuable lesson to others involved.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • dancehall music effects on the society

    ...Caribbean islands become so multiracial? 2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a multiracial society? 3/11/2014 Alli-Jae Wallace Social Studies 1 brown Miss. Johnson   It is a task, privilege and or opportunity for me to use this essay to inform you...

    Read More
  • Intolerance: Minority Group and Society

    ...“Intolerance towards those who are different is still prevalent today.” How true is this of your society? Princess Diana once said, “ The greatest problem in the world today is intolerance. Everyone is so intolerant of each other.” It is indeed true that intolerance is one of the greatest problems faced by the word today. Intoleran...

    Read More
  • The Negative Effects Of Television And Its Effects On Society

    ...benefit them. It then climbs its way to be an everyday thing where the programs are set to be viewed on certain times of the day. Watching television from such a young age will destroy the development of having an adventurous mind and will take over the sense of enjoying it themselves rather than just to experience it through the glass screen of...

    Read More
  • Drugs and There Effect on Society

    ...Drugs and there effects on Society Drugs have been probably the biggest contributor to the downfall of the world in the last 50 years. There are many drugs with many different side effects. The most common of drugs are Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin, Crack Cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD, Angel Dust, and Mushrooms. All of these drugs are put into a class ...

    Read More
  • The Effects of Technology on Society

    ...   The Effects of Technology on Society     New technology is rapidly expanding. Manual labor is now becoming extinct. Depending on the type of technology implemented, it can be negatively affecting our way of living. Not at all was technology meant to have a detrimental affect on society. It’s soul purpose was to make life easier. Th...

    Read More
  • The effects of videogames on society that PlayStation sales have stayed steady worldwide, with the Middle East emerging as a major market there has been a Recent incident, A four year old boy shot and killed his father, this happened after the man refused to buy his son a PlayStation console. This Saudi Arabian boy has been labelled the country’s youngest ‘killer’, the i...

    Read More
  • smoking and its effect on society

    ... Smoking and Its Effect on Society Matthew Naboka Clinton Community College Smoking and Its Effect on Society Many people believe that they are in control of their own lives. They believe that their lives are based upon choices they make as individuals. For me on the other hand it is differen...

    Read More
  • Effects of Technology on Society

    ...Effects of Technology On Society Technology is detrimental to society today because of the effects it has on children and teens that carry over into their entire lives. The harmful effects are only growing as technology grows with it. The different effects of technology are causing problems for this demographic in regards to social me...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.