The Solution to Stereotypes in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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As long as stereotypes remain a part of society, justice cannot be upheld due to the bias and prejudice of these misconceptions. Specifically, in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee displays the outcome of a racist and stereotypical society through the eyes of the young protagonist Jean Louise (Scout) Finch. As Scout matures, she begins to notice the myriad of flaws and imperfections within her society and as a result, Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, teaches her to look past an individual's exterior. Thus, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird displays the physical consequences of stereotypes as well as how they limit, restrict, and govern the actions of humans; ultimately, this exhibits the destructive nature of stereotypes that also prevents individual growth.
The physical consequences of stereotypes are exhibited countless times throughout the novel. For those who do not conform, its aftermath includes scrutiny, isolation, and even death. When Atticus Finch decides to defend a black man, he is bombarded with criticism. His own nephew Francis said, "‘...Grandma says it's bad enough he lets you all run wild, but now he's turned out a n*****-lover we'll never be able to walk the streets of Maycomb agin. He's ruinin' the family, that's what he's doin'" (Lee 83). Due to Maycomb's intolerance for coloured people, Atticus Finch is shunned by society. Furthermore, this scrutiny extends past Atticus himself and causes his family to face hardships; this is seen as Scout and Jem are mistreated by Maycomb's white community because they do not approve of their father’s actions. Yet, even more atrocious were the unjust actions geared towards Tom Robinson. “‘The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence to the effect th...

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...xamples demonstrate how stereotypes discourage individual growth, as individuals are expected to act in one manner - to conform to the stereotype.
In conclusion, To Kill a Mockingbird displays how stereotypes are not only superfluous but impractical as well. They cause pain to their victims while continuing to breed a community of close-minded individuals. Also, if this tradition remains unchanged, stereotypes will continue to govern how humans live, whether it be by restricting or compelling individuals to act a certain way. Certainly, a world which is exempted from stereotypes would be ideal, but is unrealistic as tradition is not easily abolished. Thus, the only true solution is to learn to step into someone else’s skin and realize that there is always more than what meets the eye.

Works Cited

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Warner, 1982. Print.
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