Unfair and Cruel Treatment During the Great Depression in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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To Kill A Mockingbird depicts the daily occurrences in Maycomb County, an Alabama town in Southern USA. The story is set in the 1930s, when the people are mostly poor as a result of The Great Depression. Set in a time before the implementation of racial and sexual equality, the story provides insight on the mentality of the county people and their discriminative practices, which are aggravated by their difficult financial situation. Maycomb County is a white peoples town; the black community live on the outskirts of the town. Racism is so rampant that people do not even realise it happening. The blacks are deprived basic rights; they are not allowed proper jobs and are separated from the whites in every occasion. The blacks are even forbidden from going to a white church or boarding a white person’s bus. The whites of Maycomb County believe that they are superior to the blacks in every way, and avoid contact with them as much as possible. This behaviour is well portrayed by the unjust and derogatory treatments experienced by Tom Robinson, a poor black man who is being accused of raping a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. Upon feeling humiliated after her failed attempt to seduce Tom, Mayella acts out by accusing him of rape. This is cruel of her, as she knows that sending a black man to trial is a death sentence. Even though he is innocent, Mayella knows that Tom will have very little chance in winning the case. Heck Tate, the sheriff of the county, arrests Tom even though there is no evidence of Mayella’s claim. This may appear as unfair, however, upon realising how worked up the town is about the case, and out of fear for Tom’s safety, Heck Tate decides that holding Tom may be the right thing to do. This suggests that he i... ... middle of paper ... ...found guilty and is sent to prison. Instead of protecting his rights, the justice system hypocritically condemns him. The verdict sends shock to Atticus’ children and significantly affects the way they view the world. As time passes, Tom is demoralised even though Atticus is still determined to fight for his justice. Tom is left with only two options; to fight with the judicial system that oppresses black people’s rights, or escape. Eventually Tom decides that his only chance is escaping. As he runs across the prison yard, the guards shoot at him. Tom dies in cold blood unable to claim his justice. Harper Lee expresses the unfairness and cruelty faced by Tom Robinson through these events. Harper Lee realises the brutality of a white community towards black individuals before the establishment of equal rights, and she does this through the story of Tom Robinson.

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