top-rated free essay

Prejudice in to Kill a Mocking Bird

By Genesis801 May 12, 2013 1018 Words
Genesis Reyes May 06, 2013 Prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird

Prejudice can be described as an opinion of a person based usually on race or religion before all the facts are known. Prejudice is an occurring problem during the twentieth century and is especially emphasized in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In the novel, Harper Lee shows us the effects of prejudice on the ideas of the citizens in Maycomb County, more specifically social prejudice in some of the main characters: Arthur Radley and Atticus Finch. In the novel, Boo Radley is a victim of prejudice. Boo Radley is not accepted nor does he fit into Maycomb society because he is considered different from the others. He is not normal according to Maycomb civilians and therefore he is punished socially by a community that is very judgmental and biased. Boo does not act like a normal person and his actions are mysterious and abnormal. One day Boo was cutting the newspaper with scissors, and when his father passed "Boo drove the scissors into his parent's leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities" (12). Boo just sat there after stabbing his father. He did not apologize or feel regret for his actions. This event became a topic for gossip throughout Maycomb giving Boo the malicious reputation he has to live with. Boo Radley isolates himself from the people of Maycomb. He stays inside his home all day and nobody ever sees him. He stays inside his home because he knows that his society will ridicule him and will not allow him to let go of his past errors. The town often speculates what he does inside his home. People believe that Boo "went out at night when the moon was down, and peeped in windows... any stealthy small crimes committed in Maycomb were his work" (9). The town would accuse Boo for any misdemeanor or unexplained abnormality. Children contemplate as well as the adults. When describing Boo Radley, Jem explains to Dill that "Boo was about six and a half feet tall ... there was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time" (14). This is an example of prejudice in the novel because the children fabricate ideas based on what the neighborhood has to say about Boo’s activities. The town portrays Boo Radley as an outcast and rejects him in their society all because he made a mistake and is a little bit diversified. Another example of prejudice within the novel is Atticus Finch, a major role in the book. After being appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a black man, against a white woman, the town exhibits a tremendous amount of prejudice towards him and his family. The townspeople believe that as a white man, Atticus should not present a proper defense for a colored person, but Atticus believes that as a man of the law, he should do his best in the case because he believes in equal rights and fair judgment. Atticus Finch is a major object of vicious comments by the civilians of Maycomb. The people of Maycomb chose to be based because they believe that a black person will always be guilty even before the case is brought to trial. Mr. Bob Ewell confronts Atticus after the trial at the post office corner, spits in his face and says “Too proud to fight, you nigger-lovin' bastard?” (248). these actions do not bother Atticus because he knows that he is doing the right thing by defending Tom properly.

Despite the fact that prejudice is an act shamed upon by our modern society, it wasn’t a severe problem in 20th century Maycomb. The majority of the Maycomb townspeople do not attempt to help victims of prejudice since almost everyone shares the same beliefs. However, the few people that do have morals in Maycomb such as Ms. Maudie do their best to provide help for those who fall victim to the unfair judgment. Ms. Maudie believes in equal treatment for everyone. She dislikes it when people talk about Boo Radley and does her best to defend him. When Miss Stephanie tries to spread tales of Boo's fearsomeness, Miss Maudie doesn't just refuse to listen, she tries to find ways to get her to be quiet, like when she tells the kids about the time “Stephanie Crawford even told me once she woke up in the middle of the night and found him looking in the window at her. I said what did you do, Stephanie, move over in the bed and make room for him? That shut her up a while” (51). Ms. Maudie disapproves of people talking about Boo Radley because she knows what is right and does not want the children to grow up believing in the stories that they hear because they are full of bias and prejudice. She tries to show them right from wrong by explaining to them that the things they hear about Boo being a monster is just “…three-fourths colored folks and one-fourth Stephanie Crawford,”(51). This means that the haunted house and Boo being a wild man are just stories passed around town by people who are disrespectful and like to gossip. She tells them that Boo doesn’t have to come out if he doesn’t want to and that people should just let him be. To conclude, Prejudice in the novel affects the plot in many ways. The racial and social prejudice obstructs Tom Robinson and Atticus from obtaining a justifiable result to the trial. The children are also affected by prejudice because they are beginning to understand the feelings that the townspeople have towards their father and how it’s wrong for them to say that Tom is guilty. I believe that prejudice is a very wrong but powerful action and it is capable of destroying a person’s mentality. It is unfair for someone to build judgment about a person without knowing all the facts just because their race, religion

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • To Kill A Mocking Bird: Prejudice

    ...with them. Blacks have been treated like filth in our society for hundreds and hundreds of years. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee, prejudice is depicted throughout the novel, it was present in our society when Martin Luther King Jr. marched down the streets of D.C. for equality, and prejudice still exist in our nation to...

    Read More
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird- Victims of Prejudice

    ...The victims of prejudice All around the world, discrimination of a certain race occurs. Harper Lees’ novel to kill a mockingbird shows the prejudice in Maycomb, which is revealed by the outsiders. Due to the differences of people in the community, victims are victimized. Also people who choose to be different are victimized from other people ...

    Read More
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird (Theme: Prejudice)

    ...Prejudice: The Root of Evil “Prejudice is burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.” – Maya Angelou Prejudice is a force of destruction in our world. Even after much time has gone by, prejudice has yet to diminish once and for all. As implied by Maya Angelou, prejudice has undeniably creat...

    Read More
  • The Theme of Prejudice in to Kill a Mocking Bird

    ...The Theme of Prejudice in To Kill A Mocking Bird To Kill a Mockingbird is narrated from the viewpoint of Scout, a young girl of about six years old who is the daughter of another central character, Atticus Finch. Atticus is the voice of justice and rationalism speaking out in a town full of highly emotional and ignorantly prejudiced people. A l...

    Read More
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird

    ...To Kill A Mockingbird Short answer questions: (chapters 12-16) Brittany Ruddock 1. Calpurnia was ecstatic to take Scout and Jem to church with her, she had them dressed up in extravagant clothing, making sure that everything was matching and flawless. “When they saw Jem and me with Calpur...

    Read More
  • To Kill a Mocking bird

    ... Josh Crawley April Lange English 1020 30 September 2014 Young Scout’s search for Position In To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee explored social inequality as seen through the eyes of young Scout, as She encounters the people’s different beliefs about social position of Maycomb County. Scout finds out why it’s acceptable for the Cunni...

    Read More
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird Essay

    ...Childhood, to adulthood, a large step for everyone. It is a stage that everybody must go through and experience. Dill Harris a seven year old boy, Scout Finch a six year old girl, and Jem Finch a 10 year old boy are all young characters in the novel To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee that show a large step of maturing and coming of age th...

    Read More
  • Summary of to Kill a Mocking Bird

    ...and there was no need), and then has the witness write his name. Bob Ewell, the jury sees, is left-handed—and a left-handed man would be more likely to leave bruises on the right side of a girl’s face. Analysis: Chapters 16–17 The trial is the most gripping, and in some ways the most important, dramatic sequence in To Kill a Mockingbird...

    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.