Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

analytical Essay
1363 words
1363 words

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird 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. The novel’s narrator is a young girl by the name of Scout. Her father, Atticus Finch, is assigned by the Alabama town’s judge to defend Tom Robinson. This stirs up much trouble around the county, as people begin to take sides on the case before it has even come to trial. Scout comes to encounter trouble around school when fellow schoolmates begin to give her grief. In the school yard, Cecil Jacobs announced to the class “that Scout Finch’s daddy defended niggers” (Lee 74). Scout gets into a fight over this because an announcement like that is considered an insult. Later in the novel, Scout even finds hostility within her family. Her cousin Frances said that Atticus is “nothing [sic] but a nigger-lover” (Lee 83). This action is representative of the respo... ... middle of paper ... ...they did not commit. In many cases evidence was lacking to secure a genuine conviction, but a jury of twelve white men did not prove that justice is blind. After conviction, there was little to be done for blacks to appeal, since the vast majority lived in extreme poverty. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses historical fact to exposes the truth and bring a social injustice into a novel. Works Cited Alexander, Rudolph Jr. Race and Justice. New York: Nova Science, 2000. 51-66. Du Bois, W.E.B. “Race Relations in the United States, 1917-1947.” The Negro in Depression and War. Ed. Bernard Sternsher. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1969. 29-44. Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: Warner, 1982. Ling, P.J. “A White Woman’s Word: The Scottsboro Case (1931).” Race On Trial. Ed. Annette Gordon-Reed. New York: Oxford, 2002. 118-138.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how atticus picks apart the state's evidence on the matter. the jury panel of twelve white males returned a unanimous guilty verdict.
  • Analyzes du bois, w.e.b., and sternsher's the negro in depression and war.
  • Explains ling, p.j., "a white woman’s word: the scottsboro case (1931)." race on trial.
  • Analyzes the irrational hatred of black people in harper lee's novel, to kill a mockingbird.
  • Analyzes how the scottsboro boys' trial involved two white women that accused nine black youths of rape.
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