Essay on Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

Essay on Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

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Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird


‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was written by Harper Lee in 1960. Nelle
Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama, a city
of about 7,000 people. She studied law at the University of Alabama
and one year at Oxford University. After giving up working as a clerk
for an airline she moved into a cold-water apartment in New York to
concentrate on writing. She first handed this book to a publisher in
1957 but it was rejected so she took two further years to rework it
before it was published as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in 1960.

The book tells a story very similar to Lee’s own childhood. The town
in which it is set is a small southern town just like her own with the
characters matching friends and associates from her youth. It is set
in the thirties and is a highly significant statement and important to
that era. It was written at the time of the civil rights movement,
which guaranteed basic civil rights for all Americans, regardless of
race. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was set thirty years before Lee wrote
it, meaning she could use hindsight to give the story authenticity.
Lee helped move the civil rights movement forward by reminding the
population of the prejudice they had and showing them that something
had to be done.

The American civil war was between the North and the South of the
country. The South had very definite views on the way black people
should be treated and that they should be slaves and nothing more,
whereas, in the North, people were more open to change and felt that
something should be done about the situation of segregation and
injustice. The novel is set in the South, which gives it strong
relevance to the continuing prejudice b...


... middle of paper ...


...f the South of America
by examples of cases and circumstances. This is extremely effective as
it is possible to see where the prejudice has become injustice and how
it can be impeded and ceased.

Lee shows that people are prejudiced because they are ignorant and
they do not know or understand the people they are prejudging. She
employs many tactics to present her grief and sorrow over the
continuing injustice in the South. She uses different characters to
exhibit each of her arguments and statements.

It was extremely bold of Lee to write this book about the South as
this part of the country had not adapted well to the changes in law
regarding civil rights, therefore, would not have been pleased with
the complaints made. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird' was written to dramatise
Harper Lee’s views and beliefs of the errors in 1930’s to 1960’s
American society.

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