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Theme Of Ignorance In To Kill A Mockingbird

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Many of our society’s issues are rooted in ignorance. Those that are not open to the uniqueness of others fear people who are different from them or disagree with their opinions, as “Fear always springs from ignorance”. (Ralph Waldo Emerson) The novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is a story about a town that is extremely prejudiced. Most people of the town believe that black people are not to be trusted, or are bad people, often because racism is taught in their town. The people's fear of others destroys some of the true “mockingbirds” in the story, Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. To Kill a Mockingbird is a great example of how ignorance and mystery create fear. The “Help”, directed by Tate Taylor, is a movie about the struggles of the…show more content…
In chapter 23, after the Tom Robinson trial, Jem asks Atticus why the people of Maycomb never serve on a jury. Atticus tells him, “Serving on a jury forces a man to make up his mind and declare himself about something. Men don’t like to do that. Sometimes it’s unpleasant.” (Lee, 297) This supports the idea that fear drives people’s actions. The jury in the Tom Robinson trial was afraid to say they thought he was innocent because they knew that much of the town would strongly disagree with that verdict. Everyone knew the truth deep down, but many were ignorant and chose to believe that Tom Robinson was guilty, just because he was black. The jury was afraid of being hurt by the rest of the people in Maycomb. Another example of fear in To Kill a Mockingbird is when Jem describes Boo Radley to Scout. He tells her that Boo is, “about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that’s why his hands were bloodstained-- if you ate an animal raw, you could never wash the blood off. There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time.” (Lee, 16) This quote demonstrates that Jem and the kids fear Boo. When describing him, they turn him into a monster, just because they’ve never seen him, and so…show more content…
They live in an town in South Africa where white people live in a separate community from black people. Since they do not live among each other, the white people may not know much about those that live outside their community, and they fear them, as they don’t know them. They family has a sign on their gate, “a plaque for their gates lettered YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED over the silhouette of a would-be intruder.” (Gordimer) The fact that they feel the need for this kind of sign shows that they live in fear of the black people in their area. By isolating themselves from the black people, the mystery surrounding them causes fear. Since they are ignorant as to who these people really are, they fear what they don’t know. Later in the story, the housemaid asks that the family install some defence mechanisms to protect her from any intruders. She, “implored her employers to have burglar bars attached to the doors and windows of the house, and an alarm system installed.” They do it for her, because even though the “riots were suppressed”, there were still burglaries by the black people in the area. What they are too ignorant to realize is that one of the possible reasons for the riots could be the racism against those people. They seem to fear the black people for reasons that they created on their own. “Once Upon a Time” by Nadine Gordimer shows how
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