• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A study of prejudice in Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

Extracts from this document...


A Study of Prejudice in Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' There are many different types of prejudice in Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. Social prejudice and prejudice against those who do not conform to normal society all play a part in the novel. The biggest prejudice in the novel, however, is racial prejudice. This is perhaps the basis of 'To Kill A Mockingbird', and most of novel centres on this point. Harper Lee's inclusion of racial prejudice in the novel is not unexpected. Born in Monroeville, Alabama in 1926 she lived in state teemed with racism. Alabama was a state on the south side of the United States of America. During the American war of independence, the south side of the U.S. fought the north. The north believed that the black slave trade that existed at that time should be abolished, and that all the slaves should be emancipated. The south side, however, believed that the slave trade should be allowed to continue. The south dependent on the slave trade as it was the best form of cheap labour available. ...read more.


Blacks and whites are totally segregated. As described in the book, they go to different churches to worship and no one is welcome in each other's church as shown in the encounter with Lula- a black woman who did not want Jem and Scout into the black church, purely because they were white. She said, "You ain't got no business bringin' white chillun here- they got their church, we got our'n." Racial prejudice is something grown into the roots of Maycomb society. As soon as Atticus decides to take up the case of defending Tom Robinson people in Maycomb encounter him with mass verbal attacks. Strangely enough, most of these attacks, though directed to Atticus, are said to his children. Two examples of this are when Scout's cousin Francis calls Atticus a 'nigger lover', and when their neighbour Mrs. Dubose regularly shouts abuse to Jem and Scout about their father. Another prejudice found in 'To Kill A Mockingbird' is that of social prejudice. This is prejudice against people because of their particular status. This is to do with the caste system- the system of upper, middle and lower classes. ...read more.


Another person who suffers from this sort of prejudice is Mr. Dolphus Raymond. He is a white man married to a black woman who chooses to live around the black people. He is cast down as a low life for this and is only later discovered to be a quite wise man by the children after the trial of Tom Robinson. Perhaps the most significant victim of this kind of prejudice is Atticus. Atticus is very different from every adult in Maycomb for many reasons. Firstly, he treated Calpurnia, the cook, as his equal and allowed her to act as the main mother figure in the Finch residence. Treating a Negro as your equal was unheard of in Alabama- as was shown in the trial of Tom Robinson. Secondly, Atticus raises his children in the most unorthodox manner. He allows them to call him by his first name. Finally, Atticus seems more tolerant than most adults. This is because he practices the theory of 'putting the shoe on the other foot'. This is what he does when he defends Tom Robinson. For this he receives much criticism and is much insulted. One thing that links all of these forms of prejudice together I the symbol of the mockingbird. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Harper Lee section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Harper Lee essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss Harper Lee's portrayal of the black community in To Kill A Mockingbird

    5 star(s)

    Tom also has a very lowly job picking cotton, as this is the only work available for a black man. Tom says that he felt sorry for Mayella, and that this was why he had always helped her, as she seemed to have noon else to help her around in reply to a question.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Examine the nature of prejudice in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. Are there any signs ...

    4 star(s)

    When Scout and Jem's Aunt Alexandra comes to stay, she does not appear very pleased that Atticus is using Calpurnia, a black woman, as their 'maid', and expresses her feelings very clearly to them. "....being raised by Aunt Alexandra, and we all knew the first thing she'd do.........would be to fire Calpurnia."

  1. Peer reviewed

    Examine the different kinds of prejudice and injustice which you have found in 'To ...

    4 star(s)

    To obtain this he allows white people to believe he is a drunkard so that they can deem him no good to be part of white society anyway. He does this to help people accept his status so that they will not trouble themselves with him and consequently he can achieve life in peace.

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird Lit Review

    up for his values and defended Tom Robinson knowing that he would lose. When asked by Scout about the uselessness of fighting the trial for Robinson, Atticus replied, "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win" (76).

  1. Discuss the importance of Boo Radley in relation to the themes and plot of ...

    If state had sent Boo to school and not with Mr Radley he would have bee like a normal person. Mayella has negative family relationships, "When a man spends his relief cheques on green whisky his children have a way of crying".

  2. To Kill A Mockingbird Imagery and Symbolism

    Harper Lee uses Bird Imagery through out the novel but it is introduced in chapter 8 when Scout says, "Just as the birds know where to go when it rains, I knew when there was trouble in our street." Chapter 8 (Pg 76), Bird imagery continues throughout the novel to

  1. How effectively does Harper Lee convey her ideas about prejudice in her novel To ...

    For example, a white slave masters' views could influence generations and communities whilst a black slave because of his experience could influence his/her family, the black community- this would cause a division between the two races leading to stereotypes. These family/community beliefs and traditions eventually resulted in prejudice.

  2. To Kill A Mocking Bird : Harper Lee - A chapter analysis.

    Chapter 8: A cold snap hits Maycomb County. The town experiences its first snowfall since 1885. Coincidentally, Mrs. Radley, who no one had seen for many years, dies during this winter. Atticus and the neighbors gather round the Radley house as Mrs.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work