To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Often times, literature reflects the problems within a society. An author finds their character’s struggles and triumphs in the people of each era. Inspirations from real life events fuel not only great literature but also books that become remarkable social pieces. A perfect example is Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. This novel is reflective of the 1930’s era. In the story racism runs rampant through society with only a noble few trying to stop it. The racism that is apparent and a focal point for the novel is, although fiction, closely matched to that of a racist era in America. Racism represents fear of the unknown in many themes in the book as well as in the daily aspect of life.

Racism is something that has always existed, exists now and will most likely exist in years to come. Although it has diminished a great deal since the beginning of the 20th century, it is still a problem in today’s world and many feel that it may always be a problem. Civil rights movements have helped ease the sting of racism. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. was a black man who fought for civil rights in a peaceful and non-violent way, by giving powerful and persuasive speeches. “Non violence is a way of humility and self-restraint. We Negroes talk a great deal about our rights, and rightly so. We proudly proclaim that three-fourths of the people of the world are colored” (King Jr. 220).in fact, his lectures and dialogues “sparked the conscience of a generation“(King Center-1). Even after civil rights movements there are still so many people in the world that cannot see through race, gender and ethnic background. Stereotyping and poor judgment are still very active in people’s minds today. Black people were and in some instances still are discriminated against and looked down upon because of the color of their skin. One saying “Never judge a book by its cover” goes along with the idea to judge people by their character rather than the way they look.

Additionally in To Kill a Mockingbird, the plot is mainly based on the trial of a black man, Tom Robinson who is wrongly accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell. The main character, Scout, is just beginning to figure things out. All evidence leads to prove he is innocent, yet just the fact that he was a black man living in a southern racist town where white people are superior to black people is enough to get him c...

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...rdict it is clear as day that Tom Robinson is an innocent man.
Yet, that is not enough to convince the judge or the jury to release him. Even though Atticus , his lawyer as well as Jem and Scout’s father is able to tell the jury that “Lying…this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men”(Lee 204). Tom Robinson a day later makes a desperate flee to try to escape from prison but is shot down and dies. After being killed attempting to flee from the confines of prison life, Tom, in an editorial by Mr. Underwood, is compared to, “a harmless songbird killed by senseless hunters” (Lee-242). Here again, the image of the mockingbird is raised; sighting another individual's discontent with the treatment of Tom by the town of Maycomb.

In a nutshell, To Kill A Mockingbird is about racism and prejudice, both themes that have been very harmful to society. These elements have run through society and have been represented equally in the book also. Racism and Prejudice haunt ignorance and vice versa. By writing this novel Harper Lee fought her own battle and raised awareness not only of racial prejudice that occurred in the 20’s and 30’s but also in today’s world.
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