To Kill a Mockingbird Racial Prejudice EssayGet Your
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The prize winning ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee is a memorable novel. The story is based in Maycomb, Alabama in the southern United States during the great depression when money was short and racism was very common. The most powerful theme in this novel is racial prejudice. There are many references to this in the novel and is best shown in Bob Ewell’s character during and after the trial of Tom Robinson. It is also shown in the character of Lula when Calpurnia brings Scout and Jem to the First Purchase church, and also when Jem, Scout and Dill talk about the biracial children in Maycomb.
The most racist person in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ would be Bob Ewell. He shows how racist he can be during the trial of Tom Robinson. During his testimony against Tom Robinson he says, “I’ve asked the county for fifteen years to clean out that nest down yonder, they’re dangerous to live around sides devaluing my property”(175). Bob Ewell shows what he feels towards negroes like Tom Robinson, in that he considers them trash, dirty, useless and should be cleared out of Maycomb.
Bob Ewell also accuses the negroes of being dangerous to the Maycomb folks as they would steal their property. After the trial and Tom Robinson’s death, Bob Ewell holds grudges on Atticus, Judge Taylor and, for no reason, Tom’s wife Helen. He attempts Christian Doma to rob Judge Taylor and fails, he threatens to ‘chunk’ Helen. What he attempts to do to Atticus just for defending Tom Robinson is kill his kids, Scout and Jem, but in the end the life that is taken is of his own. Bob Ewell’s hate for blacks lead to his own death, that’s how far he was willing to go.
Bob Ewell may be the worst when it comes to racism on the white side, but there is another side of that scale and it is best shown in Lula. The church that Calpurnia and Lula attend is called the First Purchase Church, only black people are allowed to attend the church. When Calpurnia brought Jem and Scout to the First Purchase church, Lula stopped them after they walked in and told Calpurnia, “You ain’t got no business bringin’ white children he’re – they got their church and we ours'”(119). Lula’s eaction to the white children can be viewed as her acceptance of the town’s view that black people should be segregated. Dill, Scout, and Jem are not racist but they do talk about the biracial children in town. Jem talks about the biracial children when he says that “colored folks won’t have’em because they’re half white: white folks won’t have them because they’re half black”(183). This shows the social racism in the town of Maycomb. Everyone has heard the quote, “All men are created equal. That has not stopped the discrimination against any group of people right up to this very moment. The group of people that is treated most unequally is made up of biracial children and teens. There are many themes in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, racial prejudice being the most outstanding. It is shown clearly in Bob Ewell at the time of Tom Robinson’s trial, Lula at the First Purchase church, and during the scene when Scout, Jem, and Dill are talking about the biracial children in Maycomb.
Author: Gene Jeremiah
To Kill a Mockingbird Racial Prejudice Essay
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The Theme of Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird Essay
1050 Words5 Pages
In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, many minor themes are present such as gender and age. However, the largest and therefore major theme of the book is racism. All of the events and themes in the book had only one purpose, to support the theme of racism.
One of the most important events in the book was Tom Robinson’s trial, which was unfairly judged due to the fact that the jury could not see beyond the color of Tom’s skin. The put their own racist opinions ahead of what is right and just. One of the most important events in the novel circulated around racism. However, the most focused on point of Tom’s life was not the only point in his life where racism has been shown towards him. The Ewell’s are a major source of racism towards Tom.…show more content…
This was unlike how African-Americans would act during this time-period. They would have a specific way of speaking without proper grammar. This was shown by the attitude and behavior by the members in the church. During church, if Calpurnia had acted proper she would have been seen as acting like a Caucasian and seen as racist. To prevent this, she acted like everybody else.
Calpurnia’s son Zeebo is another example of racism. In everyday society, he is seen as just a low garbage man however, in church he is one of the most important figures as he is one of only four members of the church who can read. In addition, he leads the hymns since he can read. In the church, the method used for the hymns is the "repeat after me" method. Zeebo starts a line of the hymns and the line is the repeated by the rest of the church. Instead of just being a lowly garbage man, which is what the Caucasian population of Maycomb County, sees him, as he is a very important figure in the eyes of the African- American church members.
Although racism was commonly present in Maycomb County, many individuals were non-racist. One example of this was Atticus. Atticus was a prime example of non-racism in the novel. He was one of the few homeowners who appreciated his African-American housekeeper; he treated Calpurnia as a person and was humane to her. In most cases, the homeowner would be mean to her however, since Atticus was non-racist, he was kind to her. In addition, he even