Racism in the South
In the 1930’s discrimination against African-Americans was very common in the south. Although many African-Americans were respectable and smart, they were viewed lower than all white people in town. No matter what they did, African-Americans were treated unfairly. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Tom Robinson is discriminated against because of his race.
Tom Robinson, a black man living in Maycomb, Alabama, is wrongly accused of raping a young white woman named Mayella. The narrator Scout Finch’s father, Atticus Finch, decides to take Tom Robinson’s controversial case. Although Atticus knows he will not win because of Tom’s race, he believes it is the right thing to do. Atticus strongly believes in protecting and helping the innocent. He tells his son, Jem, that it is a sin to shoot a mockingbird because they are innocent and harmless. This moral relates to Tom Robinson and his case. Tom is a nice man who would never rape anyone, however the color of his skin leads people to believe he is guilty. Atticus sees Tom as a mockingbird, someone who will not have a chance of winning against a mean jury, but is innocent and deserves to survive. “Shoot all the blue-jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (Source 4).
Atticus presents many important pieces of evidence to help prove Tom Robinson’s innocence. When Mayella is being questioned she has trouble repeating the story of the rape, showing that she is lying. He questions the victim’s father, Bob Ewell, why a doctor was not called after he found her being raped. He also proves to the court that Bob is left-handed which matches the bruises on the right side of Mayella’s face. Tom Robinson would not have been able to give Mayella the bruises because he had a limp left arm. The evidence presented to the court clearly proves Tom Robinson’s innocence; however no matter what evidence is presented at the trial, the racist jury would never...
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