To Kill a Mockingbird: Theme Analysis

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Prejudice, a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason nor actual experience, is an exceptionally large dilemma in society today. It is an every day reminder of how uncharitable we, as a human race, can be. Even in the early 1900s, as Harper Lee illustrates in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, prejudiced assumptions have always been causing predicaments. To Kill a Mockingbird, an award winning novel written by Harper Lee, tells the story of how Scout and Jem Finch grows up in a small Southern town suffering through the Great Depression. In To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee expresses the theme of prejudice throughout the majority of her characters. Not only does she have many themes in her novel, but she is also able to incorporate them in many of her characters at once. The theme of prejudice is seen through Atticus Finch and Tom Robinson. In To Kill a Mockingbird prejudice is subsumed within Atticus Finch, a lawyer and a father of two children, Scout and Jem Finch. Atticus Finch is known by his children as the man who, “'... didn't do anything. He worked in an office, not in a drug store. Atticus did not drive a dump-truck for the county, he was not the sheriff, he did not farm, work in a garage, or do anything that could possibly arouse the admiration of anyone'” (Lee 118). On Saturday, Jem and Scout explores their neighborhood with their air rifles looking for a rabbit or a squirrel to shoot. It is then that Jem notices, “'... there's a mad dog down the street a piece...'” (Lee 123). Old Tim Johnson, the dog of Maycomb, causes panic all over the neighborhood because it is uncommon for a mad dog to appear in February. Once the sheriff, Mr. Heck Tate, accompanied by Atticus, arrives, he asks Atticus to shoot down the dog.... ... middle of paper ... ...ut the consequences that tag along with his actions. What Maycomb doesn't consider is that Tom Robinson runs away because Bob Ewell makes everything so unbearable for him and his family--- so unbearable that taking his own life seems like the only reasonable decision to make. Bob Ewell also threatens Atticus and his family, making Tom Robinson question whether or not he is worth the trouble he creates. Atticus Finch and Tom Robinson are both appropriate examples of how the theme of prejudice is seen in To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch is rumored to be a tedious, old man who is biased towards the black race, because he chooses to fight for a black man's rights. Tom Robinson, Atticus' defendant, is not given the benefit of the doubt only because of the pigment of his skin. The novel altogether is an extraordinary paradigm of prejudice and the problems it creates.
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