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

Would you agree that Harper Lee and Alice Walker have created strong, morally stable characters despite the racial and sexual abuse they endure?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Would you agree that Harper Lee and Alice Walker have created strong, morally stable characters despite the racial and sexual abuse they endure? 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'The Color Purple' are strong, thought provoking novels that deal with many contemporary issues such as prejudice and discrimination. Prejudice refers to a negative or hostile attitude towards another social group, in this case, racially defined. Discrimination is slightly different in that it involves acting on the initial prejudice. Both novels have strong senses of both of these in the form of racial and sexual abuse. The characters created by Harper Lee and Alice Walker go though many trials and tribulations during 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'The Color Purple'. Whatever prejudice they come against, characters such as Celie and Scout Finch stay strong and emerge with their beliefs and morals in tact. The treatment of these key figures is, in places, almost too much for the reader to bear. These characters deserve much gratitude for their immense bravery and strength against those who persecute them. The most obvious form of prejudice in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is the case of Tom Robinson. He is a black man living in a predominantly white town of Maycomb. He is accused of raping a young white girl called Mayella Ewell. ...read more.

Middle

When Mary Agnes dresses up to visit her uncle to try to get Sofia released from prison, she looks "like she a white woman, only her clothes patch." There is obviously a huge inequality in terms of education. Nettie and Celie go to school but only while they are not needed for domestic activities given to them by their abusive father. As soon a Celie is married, her education stops. We can see here how different this culture is to that in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. The white characters in Lee's book are well educated, especially Atticus who is very keen on his daughter going to school, unlike Celie's father. Most of the characters are not terribly well housed and are segregated from the white population. They have their own separate community with their own cemetery; church and school and have to wait in line in shops until whites are served. It is common for white residents to treat blacks as though they were animals. Incredibly offensive things are said and done to them. When Nettie is going to Africa, a white bystander remarks "Niggers going to Africa... now I have seen everything". There is a parallel with 'To Kill a Mockingbird here' as the black community in Maycomb are treated in much the same way as those in 'The Color Purple'. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 'To Kill a Mockingbird', the prejudice and abuse does not come over as strongly as in 'The Color Purple', but the issue is still prominent. Lee gives a child's perspective on the events. The racial issues are from Scout's point of view. We do not see the effect of prejudice on the characters in this book quite as much because the narrator does not know how it feels to be the victim of such abuse. These two novels show immense changes in the characters. In some cases such as Celie, prejudice makes them stronger, in others it proves too much and Tom looses his life. Those who emerge triumphant deserve much admiration, as it is difficult to emerge morally strong if you have been the victim of terrible abuse. At the beginning of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Scout is fairly ignorant of the enormity of prejudice in Maycomb. By the end of the novel, she has learnt how harsh humans can be. Both novels have strong morals behind them, not to judge people by the colour of their skin or their lifestyle but by what is inside. The famous quote from Martin Luther King comes into mind: "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character." I think the main characters in both novels have this dream also. ...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. Peer reviewed

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

    4 star(s)

    They were forced to abide by the new laws but they did not agree with them and still treated black people like filth and with no respect. Maycomb's residents echo these views. Scout and Jem's aunt, Alexandra, has a group of friends who meet every so often to discuss worldly matters and possible solutions to sensitive problems.

  2. Comparing The Subject Of Courage In "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee and ...

    It took courage for Kate (the sister) to stand up to Mr.___ even though she came back shaking "She stay out on the porch talking a little while, then she come back in, shaking. Got to go, Celie, she say."

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

    However, after all these qualities, the family are still treated differently to other families. 'By the time we reached our front steps Walter had forgotten he was a Cunningham' (pg. 26). This hints that Walter was possibly feeling more comfortable in peoples' presence and felt less like an outsider.

  2. How does Harper Lee make use of the trial of Tom Robinson to explore ...

    It seems possible however that the evidence presented by Atticus could have swayed the jury if it had not been for one simple mistake made by Tom Robinson in giving his evidence. In his account under cross-examination by Mr Gilmer of his relationship with Mayella Tom says 'Yes suh.

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    for kindling, but she didn't feel strong enough. When Tom Robinson came along, she asked him to do it in return for a nickel. As she went inside for the money, he followed her, got her to the floor, and took advantage of her while she screamed and tried to fight back.

  2. Atticus confesses that he sometimes thinks of himself as a "complete failure" as a ...

    It is difficult for Atticus to explain the societies prejudice to the children, however Atticus does so remaining truthful. Yet another example of Atticus' brilliance in explaining situations and incidents to his children is shown in chapter nine. Chapter nine begins with Scout ready to fight a boy named Cecil

  1. According to Atticus Finch, one of the main characters in To Kill A Mockingbird, ...

    'What's so intrestin'?' he asked. 'You're left handed Mr. Ewell,' said Judge Taylor." Page 177 Analysis: This quote shows Atticus' intelligence. Atticus most likely believes that Mr. Ewell could be a suspect for the crime. Atticus must have thought that Mr. Ewell would lie about being left handed, so he cleverly set Mr.

  2. To kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee uses the mockingbird theme with both ...

    The doors of the Radley house were closed on weekdays as well as Sundays, and Arthur was not seen again for fifteen years. I think this was a sign of his parents trying to hide their shame by shutting themselves away.

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