Scouting out Racism

769 Words2 Pages
Slavery may have been temporary, but the effects it left behind are ingrained in our culture and influences the notion that blacks are less than whites. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee reveals the adverse effects of racial prejudice. This story takes place during the Great Depression in a small Alabama town named Maycomb. In this town, one’s skin color determines his social status. One of the main protagonists, Atticus Finch, is against racism in the South and tries to correct the ways of the community by defending a black man named Tom Robinson in court. The theme that racial prejudice is the root of several wrongdoings is supported by character interactions, the culture of the time period, and numerous conflicts throughout the plot. Instances of character interactions in To Kill a Mockingbird support the idea of wrongdoings originating from racial prejudice. On pages 265 and 266, after seeing how Mr. Gilmer, the prosecuting attorney, was being so condescending and insulting to Tom Robinson in the trial, Dill began to cry from the injustice. “I don’t care one speck. It ain’t right, somehow it ain’t right to do ‘em that way. Hasn’t anybody got any business talkin’ like that - it just makes me sick.” Dill developed a conscience of how blacks were treated as less than whites and how racial prejudice was the cause for that. Atticus’s interaction with the jury also supports the theme. He provided a strong case for the jury and exposed the accuser and accusing witnesses’ of their lies, administering reasonable doubt. In most cases, they would not be able to convict the suspect if there was even a miniscule amount of doubt. However, the jury preferred Tom’s skin color over his attorney’s closing statement - they took advantage of h... ... middle of paper ... ...criticizing Atticus. Mrs. Dubose’s insults directed towards Atticus as well as blacks had caused Jem to demolish her property. Various conflicts in the plot are commonly caused by racial prejudice. Use of character interactions, Maycomb’s culture, and numerous conflicts reinforce the notion that racial prejudice is the cause of certain wrongdoings. Jem, Scout, and Dill interact with other people in the community which ultimately results in them finding out about the evils of racial segregation. The culture in Maycomb supported the theme in various manners. Numerous conflicts are encountered throughout the plot that point towards unnecessary segregation. Atticus taught his children not to interpret a person by his skin color but rather based on his actions and his viewpoint. Everyone is equal, and as Scout said: “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” (304).
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