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"Scout and Jem live in an institutionally racist society" discuss

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Introduction

"Scout and Jem live in an institutionally racist society" discuss The way I perceive racism would be discrimination and prejudice against somebody with a different skin colour or ethical background. In To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses racial prejudice as the main subject matter either towards a single person (for example, Tom Robinson) or towards groups of people (for example, the black community in Maycomb.) To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the 1930's. This is when the blacks have gained equal rights with white people. Bob Ewell is almost if not is, fearful of the blacks as he is seen as the lowest of the low, and he sees there is no definitely defined line between the black community and himself. As a result Bob Ewell knows that Tom Robinson did not rape Mayella (probably because it was him) but accuses him of committing it. This would make Tom feel 'higher' than the blacks as he knew he Tom would be executed. The story is told through Scout's eyes. This projects a neutral view of Maycomb; everybody is the same no matter what colour their skin is. ...read more.

Middle

If this was a non- racist attack, however, he would have only been shot once in somewhere like the foot to bring him down. In some cases, verbal racism can be just as damaging as physical racism. Take Bob Ewell for example, even though he was the lowest of the low (known as white trash) he was still considered higher than any black person and quite often addressed them as "hey boy". The reason for using "hey boy" to address blacks was that it made him feel higher. As if he was talking to a child. In chapter 14 when Scout asks Atticus if she can go to Calpurnia's house on Sunday Aunt Alexandria butts in and immediately says no. This informs the reader of her racist attitude. In chapter 24 Aunt Alexandria is gossiping with the other Missionary tea ladies and they mention ..."the squalid lives of the Mrunas". This makes the reader think that all black people live in dirt. When in reality, they don't. When Calpurnia invites Jem and Scout to church they can't wait. When they got there the black people did not seem pleased although they didn't show it. ...read more.

Conclusion

The time this novel was set in, racism was considered normal. This is one of the main themes of the novel, that alongside prejudice. Boo Radley was a victim of prejudice. Many of the townsfolk of Maycomb believed he was mad, and some believed he had actually killed people. While his father was confined to his home, Boo chose to stay indoors. Scout points this out to the reader when she says, "I think I know why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time...its because he wants to stay inside." When people start rumours like this it is another sign of humanity lashing out at what they don't understand. This is a good example of Harper Lee showing prejudice in the novel. I believe that with children like Scout, Jem and Dill, as long as their view of their does not become corrupted, I believe that Maycomb would become a better place. I think it would also be a better place if people like Mayella had children, her kids would make it a much more equal society but only if the children do not come into contact with people like Bob Ewell. ...read more.

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