Prejudice in How To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Essay

Prejudice in How To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Essay

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America is the proud author of many timeless novels. Fitzegerald’s The Great Gatsby, Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men all reveal a glimpse into previously unseen worlds to their audiences. But few of them has so profound an impact as Nelle “Harper” Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. This captivating novel enthralled the country and made it reexamine its preexisting perceptions about childhood, bravery, and morality. In spite of the importance of these concepts, the most far-reaching theme is how prejudice and education coincide, or, more accurately, how prejudice and a lack of education coincide (Theme 1). In To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee explores how a normally rational person’s ability to reason can be tainted by prejudice, even subconsciously. Rarely do the characters in Lee’s novel make an effort to be cruel, but in the 1930s South, prejudice was less about an active effort to hurt others, but instead was an affliction brought about by an unconscious combination of upbringing, culture, and social or economic status.
In a fashion typical for commercial and literary authors alike, Lee did not blatantly state her observations. An author’s writing is more than ink on paper, so authors like Lee use writing as an advocate for their convictions or to explore the extent of human beliefs. Lee calls on her own childhood experiences to provide both background and inspiration for her writing. The discoveries of her youth influence the primary theme of her only novel because living in Southern Alabama in the 1930s showed her that while there are no absolutes when is comes to morality human reasoning, there are patterns that the people of her early childhood followed (Madden 12). Not only did her early life influe...


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...960, when racial tensions were running high and while some people were pushing for equality, others were pushing back just as hard. This novel allowed readers to step into the shoes of a child, whose mind was untainted by hate or fear, and understand that prejudice is an unfounded school of thought that cannot stand up to higher thinking. This unique insight into how prejudice and a lack of education coincide is how Nelle “Harper” Lee wrote a novel that is still impacting American lives.

Works Cited

“Lett Negro Saved from Electric Chair.” Monroe Journal, 12 July 1934
Madden, Kerry. “Harper Lee: a twentieth-century life.” New York: Viking, 2009. E-book.
“To Kill A Mockingbird: Theme Analysis.” novelguide.com. Novelguide.com. 2012 Web. 17
March 2014.
Shields, Charles J. I am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2008. Print.

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