• 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)

    Also the way in which the black people behave in court, being very quiet and respectful, standing up for Atticus to honour his efforts. They also show their pride and dignity in that their first priority after being freed is to buy the church, showing their poverty.

  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)

    "I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand." White people do not consider Mr Dolphus Raymond to be respectable because he is white yet prefers to live with the black community.

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

    This historical event also fuelled prejudice as legal segregation still ensued, employment was incredibly difficult to get for black people, as a lack of education meant they couldn't pass basic literacy tests. On the other hand, there's also the frustration that the white community would go through to get the

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    families and communities are the true sculptors of children's sense of what is right and good, and what is not. Accepting gifts in the Radleys' tree and rolling accidentally into the Radleys' yard are some of the first signs that the children are slowly coming closer to making contact with

  2. The Presentation of Women in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

    comes face to face with she will retain her conscience without becoming cynical. Scout's mother died when Scout was only 2 years old, so her father, Atticus, who is a big role model in her life, brought her up. However, the two main female role models in her life are

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird

    She subconsciously says 'nigger' and asks her father regularly if he does "'defend niggers...'". The black community is often treated with disrespect and words such as 'nigger' are also widely used, even by children as young as Scout. The Finches' housekeeper, Calpurnia, is probably the only black person in the whole novel treated with respect.

  2. A Study of Prejudice in Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird".

    Because of Mr Ewell accusing Tom and causing his conviction, this eventually brings about the death of Tom. The black community is presented throughout the story in a very positive light. The Finch's maid is a loving, tender-hearted woman, who cares for Jem and Scout, bringing them up as if

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