To Kill a Mockingbird Theme
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
To Kill a Mockingbird Theme There are many destructive and brute forces that demonize and demolish our humanity, beat down our beliefs, and wreak havoc upon our morals. Among these are greed, ire, and ignorance. These are major situations in today’s society, but none is as powerful or as dangerous as racism. It’s a major issue in today’s society as well as the society in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird. It was demonstrated in the novel by what befalls Tom and Helen Robinson and Bob Ewell. Racism has ruined the lives of countless men, women, and children by causing certain ethnicities to hide and cower in fear as the “superior ethnic group” inflicts misery upon them. It is an unnecessary evil that could never be solved because of society’s blindness to recognize it. By far the largest example of social inequality in the novel is the case of Tom Robinson. He is a black man falsely accused of violating Mayella Ewell. Tom is brought forth to trial upon a prejudiced, biased, and unjust white jury. He is being defended by Atticus Finch whom in the novel is the figure and backbone of social justice and morals. He takes on the case because he feels he would be hypocrite not to. To teach his kids, Jeremy and Jean Louise Finch, the importance of equality and for him not to value his own teachings is misguiding.
“‘Nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don't mean anything like snot-nose. It's hard to explain ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody's favoring Negroes over and above themselves. It's slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody.’ ‘You aren't really a nigger-lover, then, are you? ’I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody... I'm hard put, sometimes—baby, it's never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn't hurt you.’" Atticus is aware of the man’s innocence and proves as much, but despite his best efforts the jury’s racist viewpoints cloud their morals and the trial is lost. “There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads- they couldn’t be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s word, the white always wins. They’re ugly, but these are the facts of life.”(pg. 252)
Tom being sentenced to death and even though that Atticus knows that the might have a chance at an appeal Tom refuses to acknowledge it. Tom believes that once again he will be judged because of the color of his skin rather than his innocence. He decided to break out from jail but in turn it was a failure. It resulted in him being shot a total of seventeen times. The only ones who were in woe or showed and remorse were the Finches along with Tom’s wife, Helen. “I couldn’t in truth say that we had more than a good chance. I guess Tom was tired of taking the white men’s chances and preferred to take his own.” (pg. 237) Racism unfortunately can and will never go away. There will always be people in the world who feel they are superior just because of the color of their skin. At times they take their beliefs and allow it to cloud their logic and take brutal action to “prove how they are superior. In reality, we are all equal; no one is above another solely based on the color of their skin. Atticus saw this, and the world should too.