March 14, 2015
In the fictional novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”, there were numerous counts of racism that took place in the South. Throughout the novel Scout and Jem Finch the children of a well-known lawyer named Atticus Finch discovered the true cruelty of society. During this time colored people were treated as if they were unhuman. Children went to other schools from white children did, black people had different bathrooms and water fountains than whites, as well as different sections in public places such as restaurants and movie theaters. This novel is based around the court case Atticus Finch had taken on in defense of Tom Robinson a field hand that had been accused of the raping of Bob Ewell’s daughter. To Kill a Mockingbird novel holds up a mirror to society and teaches valuable life-lessons about prejudice, injustice, and moral courage.
Throughout the novel Harper Lee had the Finch family to play the role as a family that really does not see a problem with color difference, meaning they seen no problem being acquaintance with colored people. Atticus had raise Jem and Scout on his own for many years being as though their mother had passed away while they were young. They had a housekeeper by the name of Calpurnia who had treated the children as if they were her own, but although Calpurnia was the children’s elder she had still referred to them as sir and mam. As Atticus had taken on the role of defending Tom Robinson the children Jem and Scout started to see the changes of the people that surrounded them. Jem and Scout had the spirit of a mockingbird being a though they are young and children do not always see the hatred in people’s hearts. In the novel Atticus says “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” That quote grasps the exact meaning of the difference in how African Americans were treated from whites during this time. As in the novel the character Tom Robinson was accused of a crime he had not commit, as we know as reader’s black people were put into a stereotypical category that we were bad and untrustworthy people. There were many counts of false accusations and mistreating of the black community by the whites in the 1990s. During the trial of Tom Robinson against the Ewell family, the readers seen how the white community gathered in fury that he had raped Bob Ewell’s daughter before Tom Robinson could tell his side of the story. Scout and Jem did not understand as to why black people were not treated equal to them, and they were blind to the fact that racism existed.
The jury during this case had clearly already had their minds made up for the outcome of Tom Robinson’s trial. During this time the government had no intentions of protecting the black people. The court system was based around keeping the white people protected, and only caring for their needs. As we could tell by reading Mayella Ewell had not had her story fully prepared for the court hearing, and the things she had said were not adding up. In the story Bob Ewell’s character was a drunk who had been a part of the town’s poorest family and had a lot of hate towards people of color. With the evidence that was shown just based off of Mayella’s story it was clear that her father had done the damaged to her that she was trying to persuade the jury Tom Robinson had done. Atticus had proven Tom Robinson’s innocence to the entire courtroom, but he knew that no matter what he had done the damaged was already done. Taking on this case Atticus knew he would lose friends and would be putting his reputation on the line to defend a black man that he knew had done nothing wrong. Scout and Jem had started feeling the burton of their father when children at their school would ridiculed them for him defending this colored man. In the novel Harper Lee had Jem Finch ask his father Atticus "Do you defend niggers, Atticus?" as Atticus responded "Don't say nigger, Scout. That's common." It was clear that Atticus knew how the word “Nigger” offended black people so he made Jem aware to never use it. To Kill a Mockingbird novel reveals yet only a few of the hardships that African Americans went through.
In Harper Lee’s novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, this idea of looking at equality from different points of view is one of the main themes and situations presented. This novel theme is sole based around how prejudice existed in this time. Throughout the novel, we see each separate person and their personal narrow-mindedness. The author used Bob Ewell as an example for many of the whites during this time. He was very prejudice against African Americans as most white people were during this time. Although, the racial discrimination mainly towards the blacks is the most prominent occurrence of injustice at Harper Lee’s time- the early Twentieth century, the whole novel includes several, other forms of prejudice that portray the unfavorable effects that was endured by innocent people. What I did realize in the novel was that Harper Lee used Arthur “Boo” Radley as another form of how prejudiced could take place not only in the black community but as well as the white. He was also a symbolist of a mockingbird as Tom Robinson was, he does nothing wrong but people are prejudiced towards him. Boo Radley simply does not fit in with how the white community and how things are ran because he did not often leave the presence of his own. In result of Boo’s actions he is looked at as being weird and strange causing people to treat him as he was unequal. Throughout the novel Jem, Scout, and their friend Dill who would visit them in the summer would do things to pick with Boo to try to get him out of the house. Despite the childish games they play with Boo Radley, in reality he is a kind yet shy and gentle man that would from time to time leave Scout and Jem gifts hidden in the tree. Boo is a good man who the people of the town condemn due to the rumors about him, like Tom Robinson and shows how people judge white people as well as black with no hard evidence. The quote “Never judge a book by its cover” is a quote to describe Arthur Boo Radley, because he had been ridiculed with rumors before people actually took the time to figure out what kind of person he was. Boo was an example of how prejudiced situation could be conquered.
To kill a mockingbird reveals only but a few hardships African Americans were faced with in South. The author used a fictional setting and fictional characters to play roles that readers knew were really nonfictional during this time. African Americans lived in slums and faced poverty daily in the 1900s, Harper Lee used Tom Robinson as an example for the way the black community was treated. As the reader I could feel the pain and frustration of Robinson and his family fighting a battle that they knew they would not win. Atticus Finch's sense of justice, perseverance and fighting spirit were inspiring and touching. Based on what he believes in, he knows he must "do the right thing", all the more since he has 2 young children who look up to him for guidance on the difference between right and wrong. The finch family had to face a community of racism as well as being mistreated for siding with color people. Sometimes though, as quickly as the world changes, there are people and things that may not change with everything else. Fear of change is one of the most common problems we have as Americans. Prejudice and inequality are both ideas imposed by ignorance and closed minds, and people need to become more understanding and tolerant of other ideas, races, religions, and ways of life; it is essential in order to achieve a world in which love, rather than hatred, drives us all to make a change.