The Consequences Of Rape In To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

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The novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is one of the most frequently challenged books in the United States. It tells the story of the lives of Scout and her brother, Jem. The children are raised in Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930s, along with their friend, Dill. The children become entranced with the idea of getting a glimpse of their reclusive and unseen neighbor, Boo Radley. Meanwhile, Scout and Jem’s father, Atticus, is an attorney who decides to defend Tom Robinson, an African American who is falsely accused of raping a local white woman, Mayella Ewell. The children get caught up in the trial, in which Tom is convicted and eventually killed trying to escape from prison. Jem and Scout become targets of Bob Ewell, the father of…show more content…
The school board claimed that the book’s theme of rape was “immoral” and removed the book from county schools. Unlike future complaints, this challenge not because race, but because the plot centered on rape (Selk). Residents in the town complained and wrote letters to local papers, and Harper Lee even wrote a letter to the Richmond News Leader saying: “Recently I have received echoes down this way of the Hanover County School Board’s activities, and what I’ve heard makes me wonder if any of its members can read” (Little). She continues to write, “To Kill a Mockingbird spells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners” (Selk). “Lee also included a ten dollar donation with her letter (Selk). After all of the complaints the board changed their minds and allowed the book back in the schools. All throughout the 1970s and 1980s, “school boards and parents continued to challenge the book for its “filthy” or “trashy” content and racial slurs” (Little). Instead of trying to remove the book from school libraries, attempts were made to try and remove it from school curriculums…show more content…
The Sun Herald reported that Kenny Holloway, the vice principle of the Biloxi School Board, said that there had been several complaints about the book (Caron). Holloway also said the language in the book made people feel uncomfortable and that the same lesson could be taught with other books (Caron). “The superintendent, Arthur McMillan, did not elaborate on when the book was pulled, instead providing a statement to The Sun Herald that said the resources used to teach students “may change periodically” (Caron). The Sun Herald posted an editorial criticizing the board’s decision, “By removing ‘Mockingbird,’ Biloxi has missed a wonderful opportunity to have a frank discussion with their children why ‘reasonable people go stark raving mad. Perhaps if we talked about race more there would be fewer people cavalierly tossing out hurtful racist language”

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