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What do the trial scenes in To Kill a Mockingbird reveal to us about the nature of prejudice and how it has affected the inhabitants of Maycomb at the time the book is set.

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Introduction

What do the trial scenes in "To Kill a Mockingbird" reveal to us about the nature of prejudice and how it has affected the inhabitants of Maycomb at the time the book is set. "To Kill a Mocking Bird" is a novel by Harper Lee which explores the institutionalised prejudice in a town called Maycomb in southern Alabama. The novel is set during the Great Depression in the 1930's. It is based around the trial of Tom Robinson, a Negro man falsely accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell. Atticus Finch, a lawyer and one of Lee's main characters decides to defend Robinson even though he is likely to be found guilty because of the prejudice instilled in the inhabitants of Maycomb. The events in the book are seen through the eyes of Finches daughter, Jean-Louise Finch, more commonly known as Scout. This allows us to see the towns peoples prejudice through the eyes of an innocent child. This essay will look at the trial scenes and how they show the prejudice of the inhabitants of Maycomb. ...read more.

Middle

This also shows the town peoples prejudice because they would believe the dirty, antisocial Bob Ewell over Robinson because "if scrubbed with lye soap in very hot water, his skin was white". Bob is also very prejudice as he gets Robinson arrested even though he didn't do anything wrong. He is also very disrespectful towards Robinson in court "I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin' on my Mayella!" Although Robinson does not show prejudice he knows that the inhabitants of Maycomb will, as even though Mayella came onto him, nobody would believe him because he was black. When Finch asks him why he was scared and ran he replied "Mr Finch, if you was a nigger like me you'd be scared, too" The people watching the trial in the court show their prejudice because when Robinson says "I felt right sorry for her" they misunderstand him and think that he is taking pity on her which would mean that he thinks he is "better" than her, and they don't see how a black person could be "better" than a white person, even a Ewell. ...read more.

Conclusion

Raymond also says "they could never, never understand that I live like I do that's the way I want to live." This shows peoples prejudice because it means they can't understand how someone could like living with black people. Atticus sums up the court case by saying "the state has not produced one iota of medical evidence." He tells the jury that the case is "as simple as black and white", meaning it is obvious who is telling the truth, and who is lying. He says that in the courts "all men are created equal". Telling people to put aside their prejudices and look at the fact that not only has "two witnesses whose evidence has not only been called into serious question" but also "has been flatly contradicted by the defendant." Here he is saying the Ewells are not to be trusted because of the holes in their story. Despite Finch's speech the jury are unable to overlook their deeply ingrained prejudice, and find Robinson guilty. The trial did have some effect on them though because they took a few hours to decide a verdict, whereas normally they would have said any black man was guilty. Issy 10A ...read more.

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