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Prejudice in Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mocking Bird'

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Introduction

This question is about Prejudice. Show how far the author convinces the reader that the prejudices of whites against blacks are beginning to lessen. Give reasons for your opinion. In your answer you should consider: * The incident outside the jail. * What Atticus tells Jem about the jury's verdict. * Anything else you think is important. In my opinion, the author, Harper Lee does convince the reader that the prejudiced and racist attitudes of the white Maycomb townspeople against the blacks, does begin to lessen towards the end of the novel, but only to a certain extent. Before the trial of Tom Robinson, the whites have already found him guilty, even before he had a chance to defend himself. However, after the trial, some of the white peoples' views begin to change, whereas some people in the novel still continued to show racial hatred. At the start of the novel, we aren't shown many black characters, apart from Calpurnia, and we aren't given a clear view of what the Maycomb residents opinions are of them. ...read more.

Middle

I just hope that Jem and Scout come to me for their answers instead of listening to the town". This comment shows that, because of peoples prejudices, Tom will be found guilty. Atticus takes a realistic view of the trial but he doesn't understand how people can't see past a person's skin colour and find the truth. He also worries that his children may be persecuted for his beliefs and that they don't adapt their neighbour's racist views. An important part of the novel were we are shown true racial hatred is in Chapter 15 when Tom Robinsons and even Atticus' life is put under threat. A Lynch mob, made up of farmers from Old Sarum, who live close to the Robinsons, go to Maycomb Prison to dispense their own form of vigilante justice. They want Tom Robinson killed, not only because they think that he was guilty, but also because they are so angry that the case even went to court as normally if a black person was involved, the case would have been dismissed. ...read more.

Conclusion

And we notice a change in other people's attitudes. Aunt Alexandra doesn't label a persons family because of their faults and becomes less prejudiced. However there are still some characters who continue to display prejudice views. The missionary circle tea group show such double standards. They sympathise with the poor Mruna tribe in Africa, but then go on to complain about their black servants for moping and being sad because of their dissatisfaction of the trial. And when Tom Robinson tries to escape he shot, not only once but seventeen times. The racist townspeople react to his death with disgust and apprehension. They say 'Typical of a nigger to cut and run' and 'Nigger always come out in them'. Comments and attitudes like this mean that change in Maycomb will be impossible. In conclusion, I do think that the author does convince the reader that some white's attitudes and prejudices against blacks are beginning to lessen. Yet, these partial changes of attitudes mean nothing until the whole community begin to assess their views so that justice can finally be done and so that another innocent man won't have the same fate as Tom Robinson. Patrick Fahy 11C ...read more.

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