The Evils of Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird

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The Evils of Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird To Kill a Mockingbird is inspired by the events that occurred during Harper Lee’s childhood. The setting in her novel is an allusion to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama around the time of the Scottsboro Boys Trials. In this novel, Lee illustrates the evils of racism to communicate the theme that everyone should be treated equally, not by the color of the person’s skin. In the case with Tom Robinson, Lee demonstrates “that southern justice for blacks was different from southern justice for whites” (May 4). Tom is convicted of raping Mayella Ewell, a white woman. Throughout the trial, there is evidence to support Tom’s innocence, but because he is black, he is convicted anyway. This is a historical allusion to the trials that occurred in and around Scottsboro, Alabama, where nine black men were accused of raping two white women. Retrials occurred and, even with lack of proper evidence, all nine were convicted because of their skin color. Scout has to face “the realities of southern society within the same age span that Harper Lee faced Scottsboro” (May 4). Ama Lee, Harper Lee’s father, was a man of honor that was related to the famous soldier Robert E. Lee, and likely pushed the attitudes of family pride and the cruelty of southern prejudice on to Harper. Lee demonstrates the teachings that Atticus gave Scout and Jem as a reference to the teachings that Lee’s father told Harper as a child. As Lee was growing up, she learned of the trials that were occurring, and realized that it was unfair that the black men were convicted of a crime that had little, if any, evidence. To a child, a mother or father is ‘all-knowing’ and therefore ask their parent(s) about anything that they do no... ... middle of paper ... ...February 2012 Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1960. Print. May, Jill. "In Defense of To Kill a Mockingbird."EXPLORING Novels. Detroit: Gale Power Search. Web. 14 February 2012 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, 2000. 52-56. Literature Resource Center. Web. 8 February 2012 Tavernier-Courbin, Jacquelin. “Humor and Humanity in To Kill a Mockingbird.” On Harper Lee: Essays and Reflections. Ed.Alice Hall Petry. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee. Literature Research Center. Web.10 February 2012 Zaidman, Laura M. "Harper Lee: Overview." Twentieth-Century Young Adult Writers. Ed. Laura Standley Berger. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. Twentieth-Century Writers Series. Literature Resource Center. Web. 13 February 2012

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