Racism in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Bird


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To Kill a Mockingbird - Racism

 

The novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee is a simplistic view of life in the Deep South of America in the 1930s. An innocent but humorous stance in the story is through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch. Scout is a young adolescent who is growing up with the controversy that surrounds her fathers lawsuit. Her father, Atticus Finch is a lawyer who is defending a black man, Tom Robinson, with the charge of raping a white girl. The lives of the characters are changed by racism and this is the force that develops during the course of the narrative.

 

As previously mentioned, the point of view in this narrative is from Scout. Her upbringing has been respectful to the African-Americans in her society and she shows this with her relationship with her maid, Calpurnia. Other children her age have adopted their parents' racially prejudice views, causing her of many problems. Atticus's lawsuit seems to isolate his children and Scout is taunted with remarks in the playground. Her only retort is violence and Atticus, as an virtuous father, does not condone this behaviour either: "My fists were clenched I was ready to make fly. Cecil Jacobs had announced the day before that Scout Finch's daddy defended niggers."

 

Atticus's battle for justice causes more problems for Scout. She is continually defending him but the racist remarks do not stop. These remarks just show how cruel children can be to other children. She feels the need to defend her father to Francis, her cousin. He was also taunting her with accusations: "At a safe distance her called, `He's nothin' but a nigger-lover'." The benign force of racism has disrupted their lives, especially Scouts, through the old fashioned and discriminative opinions of the younger residents of Maycomb.

 

My attitude to racism has developed in the course of the narrative. Mr Dolphus Raymond continues to elaborate on my feelings while he talks to Scout and Dill during the court case. He is a sinful man according to the community as he is has fathered mixed children. To contemplate this felony he pretended to be a drunk: "Secretly, Miss Finch, I'm not much of a drinker, but you see they could never, never understand that I live like I do because that is the way I want to live.

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" He tells the children his secret, as they already know that racism is wrong and will not be people who will be stuck with old-fashioned opinions. They will be the individuals who are having new opinions, which include equality.

 

The Finch's' are an example of an egalitarianism while the trend of their society is an echo of the Ewell's view. In Atticus's opinion, the courtroom is the only place that is truly fair. The court ruling does not go Atticus's way, as the court will still not convict a white man over a black man. Jem does not understand this, as he is not racially prejudice. Atticus consoles Jem while he knows the jury is still racist: "If you had been on the jury, son, and eleven other boys like you, Tom would be a free man."

 

Racism has disrupted and changed the lives of the characters in `To kill a Mockingbird'. The main characters, the Finches, are persecuted because Atticus is defending a black man in court. My attitude to racism changes as this force is only disturbing Scout at the beginning of this narrative. Racism is, at first, bullying and discriminative on a basic level. My attitude develops as the force of racism is now affecting the many individuals in Maycomb. Furthermore, racism is life altering and causes some people to become outcasts, as in Mr Dolphus Raymond's case. Racism is back bone of this story and at this time justice cannot overcome this discrimination.

 


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