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

How is racial tension and prejudice portrayed in “To Kill A Mocking Bird”

Extracts from this document...


How is racial tension and prejudice portrayed in "To Kill A Mocking Bird" "To Kill A Mocking Bird" was published 1960, just four years after the start of The American Civil Rights Movement. Many people found the book shocking, as it was written by a white woman who was openly opposed to the way black people were treated. The book is primarily about the way we treat those who are different to us, not only in race but in lifestyle, such as Boo Radley and Mr Dolphus Raymond, who are considered outcasts because they choose to live their lives differently. It also discusses why society is so wrong, with references to the American Civil War and the Slave Trade. It implies that society indoctrinates children into being discriminative by pointing out that when people are treated unfairly "only the children weep". The book is very persuasive due to Lee's implications about society. She never directly attacks it but still manages to change the way the reader sees aspects of society and consider his own prejudices. ...read more.


The author cleverly uses the children's visit to the church as an insight into how the black community regards the white community. When they arrive some people greet them respectfully and others greet them with hostility. This shows the hatred that some of black people have for the white people and how they feel they are treated unfairly. This hatred stems from the disrespect with which they are treated; they are given jobs that no one else wants, such as garbage collectors; they are expected to stand for white people to sit, like in the courthouse and their church is treated with no respect, "Negroes worshipped in it on Sundays and white men gambled in it on weekdays". The black community understandably found this incredibly insulting and as there was nothing they could do about it, their hatred and resentment for the white community grew, leading to stronger separation. On a wider scale the separation stemmed from the slave trade during which white people considered black people as animals or machinery, therefore, when they were freed and given their own rights in 1865 it was difficult for white communities to accept their black members. ...read more.


After Tom's trial Scout and Jem both think no one opposes the verdict, however throughout the novel they discover more people who do, such as Judge Taylor who purposefully gave Atticus the case, and Aunt Alexandra who is upset by Tom's death. It is obvious that Lee's intention for this book was to change the racist ideas she discusses. I think she achieved this because it is difficult, as a reader not to look at how one treats others and question ones own morality. Although it was clearly relevant to the changing society of the 1960's, it is still relevant today because, however much we try to deny it society will always be unfairly prejudiced against a particular group of people. The novel also makes the reader question how we teach children to treat others and pass our prejudices onto the next generation. I think that "To Kill A Mockingbird" has changed and will continue change the way we look at other people, for the better and therefore I consider it a timeless classic. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sophie Duder 2001-10-17 ...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. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    Atticus explains that Mayella has "broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society" by attempting to seduce a black man. He acknowledges her poverty and ignorance, but says "I cannot pity her: she is white." He explains that Mayella followed her desires even though she was aware of the social taboos against her actions.

  2. Prejudice is one of the main themes in 'To Kill a Mocking Bird'. Write ...

    It is understandable why Bob dislikes Atticus at this time, because he is fighting against him in court. There is also the mob incident, in which Atticus stands guard outside the Maycomb jail that houses Tom Robinson. The jailhouse is described to be "out of place" and "quite unattractive".

  1. Prejudice in "TO kill a Mocking Bird"

    in the world", they The White Middle Class (the Finches), The farming community (The Cunninghams), the lowest class of Whites (The Ewells), and the Blacks who are automatically seen at the bottom. The blacks live in their own part of town and have their own church to worship at.

  2. Maycomb Tribune - all Negroes lie?

    The 'victim', Mayella Ewell, was called to the stand. Bit by bit Mr. Gilmer slowly made the very emotional Miss Ewell explain the events that took place on November twenty first: "I was on the front porch doing nothing ...Papa told me to chop up an old chifarobe for kindlin...and

  1. Prejudice in To Kill a Mocking Bird

    The ladies of Maycomb also show prejudice towards individuals. Mrs Merriweather for instance never questions her actions, or what she says. For example, Mrs Merriweather insults Atticus as a misguided person. When she says 'I tell you there are some good but misguided people in this town.� She later goes on to say, 'Folks in this town who think they are doing right, I mean.

  2. Elements of the Novel (To Kill a Mocking Bird)

    Bravery is standing up for what you believe in and doing what's right Justice Everyone probably gets what they deserve in the end Justice is great - but not everyone is able to receive it. Judging She doesn't do it; she is a good person and accepts people Realises she was judgmental about others and wants to stop.

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

    'Jean Louis, I've had about enough of you this morning,' she said. 'You're starting out on the wrong foot in every way, my dear" (28). She pats Scout's hands with a ruler and sends Scout to stand in the corner.

  2. To Kill a Mocking Bird Continuation.

    Also the fact they live in a cabin which was once owned by a black person shows that as they did not build it for themselves so they have not achieved anything and have no reason to be proud as the black people.

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