Essay on The Trial in To Kill a Mocking Bird

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To Kill a Mocking Bird - How important is the trial in dealing with the theme of Prejudice.

Maycomb is a town riddled with prejudices and stereotypes and the trial of Tom Robinson shows and makes clear those prejudices to us.

Firstly, during the trial, Jem, Scout and Dill sit upon the balcony with the blacks. This is significant because in the court there is a great sense of segregation and
we can see the children's innocence because they don't have the same view of the
blacks as the rest of the community - they don't have any prejudices at all.

On the other hand, Bob Ewell is a prime example of 'White Trash'. He has a seething hatred for the Negroes and even though he is neither morally better nor more respectable than Tom Robinson, he is seen by the community as superior simply because he is a white man and, in their eyes, whites are better than blacks.

When Scout says that the only thing that makes Bob Ewell better than Tom Robinson is the fact that if his skin were rubbed he would be a white man beneath, it shows that a black man doesn't have a chance against a white man's word.

Mayella, however, even though she is the daughter of Bob Ewell, doesn't adopt the same prejudices as her father and even though she lives around the town dump, she still makes an effort to better herself and make herself more civilised. She feels ashamed, to some extent, at the values of her father and her standard of living, and when she is caught trying to make moves on Tom Robinson, her father makes her feel ashamed of herself.

Mayella represents a violated white female and a victim of poverty and narrow-mindedness. She can't really make advances in her life due to her father's lazy and drunken demeanour. I deduce that Bob is abu...

... middle of paper ...

...adow of a beginning'. By saying this he means that it isn't a big advance, but it is still one step closer to an integrated community, free of prejudices and rigid stereotypes.

Mr Cunningham was the man on the jury who was willing to cast aside his prejudices, in light of his experience at the jailhouse, and challenge the jury's almost certainly immediate verdict of guilty. Although he was eventually persuaded to unite with the others in their guilty verdict, he still made them think.

There is no doubt that the staging of this trial has certainly made a lot of people stop and question their prejudices in Maycomb and whether they are valid views of the black community. But the sectarian opinions of whites towards blacks aren't going to be relinquished overnight and it will be a slow process and as Atticus says, the trial
may only be 'the shadow of a beginning'.

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