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The Destructive Nature of Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird

Powerful Essays
Harper Lee grew up in the small town of Monroeville, Alabama where she lived with her parents Amasa Coleman and Frances Finch Lee. After graduating high school Lee attended Huntingdon College and The University of Alabama before she eventually quit school to pursue a writing career in New York City (Altman n.p.). The time frame in Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird is very important in helping the reader full understand racism and discrimination. “Racism permeates every idea and inch of this book from the loss of the Robinson trial, the discrimination against Atticus, and the contempt of Jem and Scout” (Satyasi n.p.). Throughout the whole novel you will find themes of prejudice and guilt-innocence involving Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson is guilty of living in a prejudice society and even though he tries to escape from prison the novel states that prejudice will overcome with hope. In To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee reveals the destructive nature of racism and discrimination.
The Ewell’s are such a racist family because they falsely accused Tom Robinson of raping Mayella Ewell. We are first introduced to the Ewell’s on Scout’s first day of school when Burris Ewell shocked his teacher Miss. Caroline with his filthy appearance. “He was the filthiest human I had ever seen. His neck was dark gray and the backs of his hands were rusty, and his fingernails were black deep into the quick” (Lee29). The Ewell children never came to school on a regular basis, they only came on the first day so they would not get in trouble with the sheriff. The Ewell’s were also racist, but it was mainly the father Bob Ewell and his daughter Mayella. “That nigger yonder took advantage of me {Mayella} and if you fine fancy gentleman don’t wanna do nothing about...

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Satyasi, Vivek. The Permeating Idea of Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird. 2008. Bookstove. .
Smykowski, Adam. “Symbolism and Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird.” Readings on “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Ed. Terry O’Neill. San Diego, Calif.: Greenhaven Press, 200. 52-56. Rpt.inContemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffery W. Hunter. Vol. 194. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Online.
Sullivan, Richard. “Richard Sullivan on the Vivid Characters of To Kill a Mockingbird.” Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird Blooms’ Notes. Ed. Harold Bloom. Print.
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