To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee seems like a complete replica of the lives of people living in a small Southern U.S. town. The themes expressed in this novel are as relevant today as when this novel was written, and also the most significant literary devices used by Lee. The novel brings forward many important themes, such as the importance of education, recognition of inner courage, and the misfortunes of prejudice. This novel was written in the 1930s. This was the period of the “Great Depression” when it was very common to see people without jobs, homes and food. In those days, the rivalry between the whites and the blacks deepened even more due to the competition for the few available jobs. A very famous court case at that time was the Scottsboro trials. These trials were based on the accusation against nine black men for raping two white women. These trials began on March 25, 1931. The Scottsboro trials were very similar to Tom Robinson’s trial. The similarities include the time factor and also the fact that in both cases, white women accused black men.
In Harper Lee’s fictional novel To Kill A Mockingbird, an African American field hand is falsely accused of raping a white women. Set in the 1930’s in the small town of Monroeville Alabama, Addicus Finch an even handed white attorney tries to shed a light on the injustice of this innocent black man’s conviction. Atticus feels that the justice system should be color blind, and he defends Tom as an innocent man, not a man of color.
The first “mockingbird” that is featured in the novel is a man named Atticus Finch. Not only is Atticus Finch the sole representative of Maycomb in the legislature, but also he is a brilliant lawyer. In addition, he has a good reputation in both Maycomb’s black and white communities because of his exceptional character. However, his reputation is soon shattered when he is faced with a case in court that affects him personally: he must defend an African American man in court in Maycomb’s segregated society. If Atticus chooses to try defending the man, he will lose his good status in town, since his racist American neighbors will soon disrespect him for treating the African Americans as equal to the Americans, which is highly unacceptable in the United States during the 1930s. However, Atticus still accepted the case believing that if he does not, he w...
Racism has been, and still is, one of the largest and most unfair issues throughout history. The concept of racism shows a major flaw in human society. A single characteristic should not be the determining factor in the treatment of two groups of people. One of the many incidents in American history where racism was demonstrated was known as the Scottsboro Incident. The Scottsboro Incident took place on March 25, 1931 in Scottsboro, Alabama. Nine black youths, riding on a Southern Railroad train, got in a fight with a group of white men, resulting in the white men jumping off the train. When the train arrived in Scottsboro, the nine black boys were falsely accused and charged for the raping of two girls: Victoria Price and Ruby Bates. These youths were given a death sentence for a crime that they did not commit (Chadwick 55). For the next decade, the Scottsboro Boys were kept locked up and re-tried, each time getting media attention. The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the ILP (International Labor Defense) got involved to try and help the boys, eventually getting their cases dismissed. The last boy was finally released from prison in 1950. The Scottsboro Incident trials highlighted the unjust use of racism in America’s courtrooms.
Racism is a targeted issue in Harper Lee’s 1930s-based novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. In Maycomb County, a fictional town in Alabama, it seemed taboo to be antiracist. When a trial involving a black man accused of raping a local white female, eyebrows are raised and tempers take over the town. At this time, it is highly unlikely for a black man to be acquitted of charges even with a substantial amount of evidence to prove him innocent. With little hope, Tom Robinson is defended by Atticus, a local lawyer. Atticus knows nearly immediately that this case will not end in justice due to the color of Tom Robinson’s skin (Lee, 80).
To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of young Scout and her brother Jem. They live in the small, southern town of Maycomb, Alabama during the time of the Great Depression. Their fairly uneventful lives are changed greatly one day when they learn their father, Atticus Finch, an attorney, will be defending Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson is a black man who has been unjustly accused of raping a white women. Although it is clear to almost everyone that he is not guilty, Tom is convicted by the all white jury. At that time a Negro 's word had no chance against a white man’s, no matter how repulsive and unrespected that white man was. Despite the many changes that have been made to both society and the Justice System since the 1930s, racial bias is not a thing of the
In the early twentieth century, the United States was undergoing a dramatic social change. Slavery had been abolished decades before, but the southern states were still attempting to restrict social interaction among people of different races. In particular, blacks were subject to special Jim Crow laws which restricted their rights and attempted to keep the race inferior to whites. Even beyond these laws, however, blacks were feeling the pressure of prejudice. In the legal system, blacks were not judged by a group of their peers; rather, they were judged by a group of twelve white men. In serious court cases involving capital offenses, the outcome always proved to be a guilty verdict. In Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the plot revolves around a Depression-era court case of a black man accused of raping a white woman. The defendant Tom Robinson is presumed guilty because of one thing alone: the color of his skin.
Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, shows how life was for those in the southern part of the United States, during a time when racism ran rampant throughout the land. Many injustices were committed to those of “Negro” descent, and it was up to those behind the law to protect them as well as those who lived by the law. Atticus, attorney at law, defender of the people, and father to Scout and brother Jem is safeguarding Tom Robinson, accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell. As the story continues though, Mayella’s accounts of the facts aren’t quite as how they actually happened. Together, Scout (Jean Louise Finch), Jem and Atticus show courage to stand up for what is right, defend the innocent until proven guilty, and how to remain unbiased within a society where a huge bias existed.
Once Atticus decides to defend Tom Robinson, insisting on his innocence in the case of the alleged rape of a white woman, he becomes a complete cultural outsider because he didn 't subscribe to the white narrative of 1930 's rural Alabama. The dehumanizing and hyper-sexualization of black bodies is an established driving force in this white narrative, enough of a force to convict Robinson falsely of his rape charges. The notion of white purity, and in contrast the inherent negativity of blackness plays heavily into this case and their real world counterparts. Emmett Till is the first such case to come to mind, a 14 year old boy who, while visiting family in the south, was accused of making a simple pass at a white woman. He was later lynched and mutilated beyond recognition by two local men who were acquitted after a 67-minute deliberation, where one juror was quoted as saying one juror said, if we hadn 't stopped to drink pop, it wouldn 't have taken that long." Cases like Till 's were not isolated incidents, and the inherent bias in the justice system demonstrated both in art and reality followed into the 60 's and still bleeds into our system today. Treatment of people of color by judicial and extrajudicial forces in America has always and continues to be a very scarred record, and To Kill A Mockingbird illustrates the impact of such trials, as well as the mindset of the communities that conduct such
Throughout the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus Finch was put to the test to defend juvenile Tom Robinson, an African American falsely accused of raping a white woman. Atticus fought long and hard and had he and Tom Robinson been guaranteed the right to a fair trial, they would have won. Atticus’s closing argument rendered countless pieces of evidence and did in fact catch the attention of the jury; but even in the beginning, the decision was clear. Although Atticus lost the trial, his argument was effective due to his excessive use of Aristotelian techniques.
There are many differences and similarities between The Scottsboro Case and the Tom Robinson’s case of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Some similarities between the two cases are that the defendants are African Americans who are falsely accused of a crime they never committed. This reveals that the cases were during the time where racism was at its worst. All the defendants were accused of rape and the two women testified against black men, like what Mayella Ewell did. And the judges were all white. Some differences are that the Scottsboro case included nine men, while Tom Robinson was the only man in his trial. And all but the 12 year old was sentenced to death, while Tom was shot later on after the trial. Lastly, after the state retried
Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird portrayed an era of extreme prejudice and ignorance. Throughout the novel, these specific characteristics were noticed in the behavior of Maycomb’s residents, especially during the trial of Tom Robinson – a highly publicized court case involving a black man convicted of raping a white girl from a despicable family. Although it became obvious throughout the trial that Robinson was innocent, and the girl’s father was the real culprit, Tom Robinson was convicted mainly due to social prejudice toward his race. The unjust result of this trial deeply disturbed the main characters of the novel: Scout and Jem, the children of the defense attorney of the trial, Atticus Finch. Since the story took place in the 1930s, racism was still widely accepted in society, and most of the residents in Maycomb openly professed their derogatory views on people of a different race or social standard. Growing up in a family that believed in egalitarianism, Scout and Jem faced backlash from the community since their father was fighting for a black man in the Tom Robinson trial. Amid these two highly conflicting environments, Scout and Jem had many unanswered questions and no support in the community during these tough times. Additionally, the Maycomb community was plagued with injustice due to discrimination and racism. However, there was one character in the novel who remained open-minded and unprejudiced even in the face of tradition and communal ignorance. A close neighbor of the Finch’s, who shared the same moral views as Atticus, Miss Maudie served as a mother figure to young Scout and Jem, who were going through a tough time in the community. Although Miss Maudie may not have had enough power to change the prejudice...
In “To Kill A Mockingbird” the trial scene clearly conveys that the Town of Maycomb is prejudice and racist towards Tom Robinson. The trial grabbed the attention of the Town of Maycomb and the outcome changed the opinion of the community. Atticus Finch was the only lawyer that would take on the case and defend Tom Robinson. The case that was presented had charged Tom with brutal assault and rape of an “innocent” white girl. As we learn more about the background of Tom Robinson in the case, we find out he was a poor working class African American who was just trying to do his job and later was falsely convicted.
One of the major events in Harper Lee’s award-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird is Tom Robinson’s trial. It is based on the Scottsboro Case that took place in 1931 in Alabama, in which several black men were accused of raping two white women. Both the Scottsboro Boys and Tom Robinson are unfairly judged, however, because of prejudice against colored people. The racial discrimination makes whites’ testimony more believable even when it contradicts itself. The same happens in To Kill a Mockingbird. As we delve deeper into the case and get increasingly closer to the truth, it is quite suprising to see that Mayella Ewell is the true villain rather than a victim. She shall and must bear full responsibility for her actions because she makes the decision to tempt Tom Robinson, gives false testimony in court that directly leads to Tom’s death, and has been well aware of the consequences of her behaviors.
Similar to the Tom Robinson case, the Scottsboro boys were falsely accused of rape. Even though there was no evidence provided for the prosecution, they were convicted due to the injustice of the time. Furthermore, there is a relationship between the Emmett Till incident and the novel. In both cases whites went against the law and lynched, or attempted to lynch, the African American and were not punished for it. Finally, the stories are all on common terms in that the conflicts involved white men trying to keep African American males away from white girls, even if the African Americans never actually did anything