Prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee “To better understand a person you have to climb up inside their skin and walk around in it.” The quote previously stated by Atticus in the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is an unveiling of the upcoming forms of prejudice. The setting for the novel is a fictitious town called Maycomb. This town is situated in Alabama. The racial prejudice shown in the novel has a lot to do with the town being situated in the southern United States. The backwardness and narrow-mindedness of the community fueled racism in Maycomb. These negative qualities account for the social and religious prejudices in the novel. Maycomb people have very inward looking views and so these views are passed on from generation to generation. Prejudice is the preconceived opinion of a person or thing. There are three main types of prejudice: racial prejudice, social prejudice and religious prejudice. These three are the types of prejudice most dominant in To Kill A Mockingbird. Maycomb is a very religious town with the foot-washing Baptists appearing to have a strong influence on the community. The foot-washers have very strict views and believe that anything which is pleasurable is a sin. They are therefore prejudiced against people who are different from them with different opinions or beliefs. The first example of their prejudice is when Miss Maudie says, “some of ‘em came out of the woods one Saturday and passed by this place and told me and my flowers we were going to hell?” Their belief is so extreme they feel they should threaten those who are different. Scout is shocked by this as she thinks Miss Maudie is the ‘best lady’ she knows. Miss Maudie is a good role model for Scout as she is not prejudice against anyone presented in the novel. Another example of prejudice toward somebody is the isolation of the Radleys. This isolation is due to this family not attending church. They also don’t conform to other codes of behavior. The Radleys suffer religious prejudice because of this and social prejudices because they keep themselves to themselves, apart from everyone else. The society sees church as a pastime and therefore pleasurable; as Mr. Radley was a foot-washing Baptist he would not agree with attending church. The community seeing church as a pastime reflects their inward views and their narrow mindedness. The isolation of... ... middle of paper ... ...ion of characters in the novel such as Boo Radley, Dolphus Raymond and to a lesser extent Miss Maudie. These people are often excluded by the society. This social prejudice leads to the exclusion of families such as the Ewells and the Cunninghams because they don’t conform to Maycomb’s belief of normality. They are treated like outsiders with suspicion and are stereotyped. The religious prejudice in Maycomb leads to the persecution of Miss Maudie Atkinson by the foot washing Baptists. Racial prejudice in Maycomb is constantly displayed by the white community toward the black community. The most glaring example of racism in the novel is when Tom Robinson is convicted of raping Mayella Ewell just because he dared to feel sorry for her. The result of this racial prejudice leads the people of Maycomb to be very hypocritical and have double standards. They say they have sympathy for other races in other countries but then they treat the ethnic minority in their town with great disrespect. The prejudice of the town is produced from fear, historical context and their social conditioning. They are afraid because of ignorance and not being able to understand new and different things.

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