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To Kill A Mockingbird - Is this novel simply a pessimistic presentation of a deeply flawed and discriminatory society?

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Introduction

To Kill A Mockingbird Is this novel simply a pessimistic presentation of a deeply flawed and discriminatory society? In this essay I will be looking at the different types of prejudices that are used in the novel. These include prejudice against colour, sex, class, outcasts and outsiders. I will be looking at how these prejudices affect the characters in the novel and how their attitudes change. I will also be looking closely at the characters of Atticus Finch and Bob Ewell, who have completely different attitudes towards racism. I interpret the word 'prejudice' as literally meaning pre-judge. When someone is prejudiced against someone then it means that they are judging him or her without knowing them and this is usually down to racism. There are many examples of prejudice in the novel and this gives the idea that Maycomb is a deeply flawed and discriminatory society. The main example of prejudice in the novel revolves around the trial of Tom Robinson, who is a black man that is being tried for a rape crime that he did not commit. The pre-judgment of Tom Robinson by a 12-strong Maycomb jury shows that the community is deeply racist. White people considered blacks to be 'upstart' and the reason for this is that the book is set at the time of depression and whites were worried that, 'black men could take their jobs'. ...read more.

Middle

By using this sort of language Ewell is portraying himself and his family as wild animals and when a wild dog appears later in the novel this can be seen as a portrayal of Ewell. Atticus's children are very different from Ewell's but they, like many of the other children in the novel are also prejudiced. Scout is victimized by her brother Jem for not being 'girlish' enough. He says, 'I declare to the lord you are getting more like a girl everyday!' This upset's Scout because she seems to want to be a boy because men obviously have a higher status in the town. Although Scout is being victimized here she shows signs of being racist herself. When she and Jem are building a snowman that is mostly made of mud she exclaims, 'I ain't ever heard of a nigger snowman'. By using the word 'nigger' Scout is showing that from a very young age she is using the language that she has obviously picked up from the people around her and by doing this she is giving the idea that the whole town is discriminatory in one way or another. It is clear that it is not only the white people of Maycomb that are prejudiced against anything that don't conform to their ideals, it is the black community as well. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is a form of discrimination because they are tormenting him just because he is different and shows that even though Atticus tries to install good morals into his children they still go of and do things like this. Along with Tom Robinson, Boo Radley can be seen as the Mockingbird of novel. Atticus says that 'Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy and therefore it's a sin to kill a Mockingbird'. This can be related to both Boo and Tom because the both do nothing wrong and are both tormented and discriminated against. I think that Lee purposely had two Mockingbirds in the novel, to show that it is all of Maycomb's society that is prejudiced. The children torment Boo and the adults persecute Tom. This shows that maycombs society is deeply flawed and discriminatory. So in conclusion, I would say that on the outside the novel is a presentation of a deeply flawed and discriminatory society. If you look deeper then you can see that not all of the society carries this prejudice and I think that the different fate of the two Mockingbirds is very significant. Boo shows us that you should not judge a book by its cover while the death of Tom Robinson shows how cruel humans can be to people who are effectively exactly the same as themselves. ...read more.

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