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

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?

Extracts from this document...

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 Mockingbird is a book written by Harper Lee in which prejudice is a cynical and spiteful theme, which the innocent minds of children are surrounded by in Maycomb County. Set in 1930s America, it was the pinnacle of the Great Depression and racial prejudice was acknowledged as ordinary. During the trial scenes the reader is presented with Lee's portrayal of the prejudicial hierarchy that exists behind the fa�ade of a kind and caring town presented during the first half of the book. The darker gentility of Maycomb is presented in its entirety during the intense climax of the novel when Tom Robinson's story is finally presented fully in the dramatic and powerful scenes of the trial. Although the story is set in the time between Scout's fifth and ninth birthdays, scout begins narrating the story much later in her life; as a result of this the narration fluctuates between the child's point of view and the adult's point of view, looking back at her child hood many years later. ...read more.

Middle

The town would not believe that a black man should feel sorry for a white girl and help her for no reward. "You felt sorry for her, you felt sorry for her?" In their opinion Tom is thinking too highly of himself if he has the audacity to feel sorry for a white person. He is also shown to be one of the "mockingbirds", a symbol of righteousness, whose decline is brought about by evil. "Remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" In saying this Atticus shows his devotion to instilling a moral conscience in his children, and tries to help them think independently of popular beliefs. "Now don't you be so confident, Mr. Jem, I aint never seen any jury decide in favour of a coloured man over a white man." This shows that prejudice against coloured people has brought great injustice to men like Tom Robinson who may have been innocent but are still convicted for something which strong evidence shows they have not done. "The way that man called him 'boy' all the time and sneered at him... it aint right". ...read more.

Conclusion

When Tom Robinson is testifying he says, "She says she never kissed a grown man before an' she might as well kiss a nigger. She says what her papa do to her don't count". This shows that her father is abusive and negligent towards his children and emphasises the lack of affection she had received. "I wondered if anybody had ever called her 'ma'am' or 'Miss Mayella' in her life". From Scouts thought, we can infer that Mayella had not received much respect or affection in the past. Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird is used extensively throughout the trail scenes. They reveal how the prejudice and narrow mindedness of Maycomb's citizens has affected certain inhabitants within Maycomb County. Harper Lee manages to show this by the use of symbols such as the Mockingbird. The Mockingbird represents the kind-heartedness and innocence that Lee tries to Instil throughout the novel. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mocking bird." To kill a Mockingbird is to kill goodness and decency, which is the greatest sin of all. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Examine the nature of prejudice in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. Are there any signs ...

    4 star(s)

    " 'You know what we want', another man said. 'Get aside from the door'. " This shows that the racism is so strong that Mr. Cunningham and his friends think that it is not worth even sending Negroes to jail and that they don't deserve to live for something that they are supposed to have done.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Examine the different kinds of prejudice and injustice which you have found in 'To ...

    4 star(s)

    He explains to the children, mainly Scout and Dill, the activities during the litigation and improves their awareness of the situation. Not only does this assist the children but it gives us the more established insight into the proceedings that we require to follow the story.

  1. What impressions are there of life in Maycomb in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

    Dolphus is a white man and he had a black partner and therefore their children are half-cast.

  2. Is Maycomb a microcosm of America's society in the 1930's?

    In the book Ms. Dubose clearly shows a great deal of courage as when the book carries on we see her full colours shine. When Ms. Dubose finally dies, Atticus explains to the children (mainly Jem) that Ms. Dubose was actually a great lady.

  1. What does the novel reveal about law and justice in Maycomb?

    She had saved for almost a year to have enough nickels to give her brothers and sisters a treat in order to have her house empty when she invited Tom inside. When she made her advance to Tom he was caught by his inability to hit a white woman and

  2. How effectively does Harper Lee convey her ideas about prejudice in her novel To ...

    Concluding, that one couldn't escape prejudice, no matter how positive and innocent, i.e. Boo Radley, helpful; and moral, Atticus being non-conforming and Dolphus Raymond, one is, due to prejudice, everyone is discriminated against in one form or other. She may have showed this, with an ending chapter (epiphany), by a

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    Dill sees nothing, only curtains and a small faraway light. The boys want to try a back window instead, despite Scout's pleas. As Jem is raising his head to look in, the shadow of a man appears and crosses over him.

  2. To Kill A Mockingbird Imagery and Symbolism

    She states that down south they have a reasonable way of life - the whites are free to go about their way of life and the blacks are free to go about their way of life. But what Mrs. Merriweather doesn't show is that the blacks down south cannot go

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