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‘All men are created equal’ is a tenet that underpins the American constitution, How far does Maycomb adhere to that political dictum?

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Introduction

'All men are created equal' is a tenet that underpins the American constitution, How far does Maycomb adhere to that political dictum? Maycomb is a relatively peaceful town in Mississippi state. As any state in America it is founded on freedom and equality - all men are equal and should receive equal opportunities. Maycomb, however is illustrated in this novel to contradict that very tenet. There are many forms of discrimination and prejudice throughout "To Kill a Mockingbird", the strongest feeling being racism between the black and white community, but there are also examples of sexism, ageism and so on. The examples of prejudice throughout the novel are very accurate to the time because the story is based on a real place and real people. Maycomb represents Monroeville where Harper Lee was raised, and her father was a lawyer, which gave her the background knowledge to be able to write realistically about Atticus and the attitudes of society towards him. The first example of prejudice comes when Scout describes "Boo" Radley. Boo is believed to be a crazy, unapproachable man. The children are scared of him - this is shown by their "daring" each other to go and touch the Radley house, another example is that the children never ate the nuts on the trees in the Radley yard because "Radley pecans would kill you". ...read more.

Middle

Scout is bringing up the issue of the Cunningham's' inability to pay for things with money and targeting Walter as 'lower class'. When Walter pours syrup on his vegetables Scout also has something to say, and when Atticus shakes his head at her she protests, "But he's gone and drowned his dinner in syrup". This also shows her intolerance of other people's behaviour, in this case - other classes. Prejudices such as sexism, ageism and classism are less focused upon, but build up to the main form of prejudice that forms the core of the story - racism. There are strong feelings between the majorities of the white and back communities in Maycomb, to such an extent that they are fully segregated - as would be expected of a southern American community in the 1930s. The blacks have their own part of town to live in, their own school their own church, and so on... A good example of racism in Maycomb is the attitudes of the public towards Mr. Dolphus Raymond. He is a successful white man, but is an outcast from society because he has chosen to live his life and to have children with a black woman. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, when Atticus asks Tom - the one accused of hurting Mayella - to catch a glass in his left hand, he says he cannot due to an accident that left his left arm useless. The feeling that Mayella's father was in fact the one who beat her is reinforced by Tom's statement under oath that Mr. Ewell said upon seeing her with him "You goddamn whore, I'll kill ya." This overwhelming evidence, as well as Tom's solid story against Mayella's extremely unconvincing one is still not enough to save Tom from the all white jury. No matter what court he was in, in that day and age, none would let a 'Negro' accused of raping a white girl go free. With the evidence throughout this essay of less focused prejudices such as ageism, sexism and classism, and the numerous examples of deep-rooted and blatant racism, I can confidently say that Maycomb definitely does not adhere to the tenet "All men are created equal". The segregation and discrimination has been in effect since the individuals in Maycomb were raised and it is all they have known, I find the story a realistic and reliable portrayal of prejudice appropriate to the period and location covered in the book. By Mike Bryant - 11M ...read more.

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