• 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)

    give up what little money they have to help others in their community. For them it is not a hassle getting to church or having to make sacrifices for it because it is something that is so precious to them.

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

    Maudie labels Mr. Radley as a foot-washing Baptist on the basis that he doesn't leave his house. She puts Mr. Radley in his own the category as if it is setting stone, 'You know old Mr. Radley was a foot-washing Baptist' which could be her reason for his peculiar ways (according to Maycomb County)

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    Tom finally says he just tried to help because he felt sorry for her, which stirs up the audience considerably. Mr. Gilmer asks whether Tom thinks Mayella was lying about asking him to chop up the chiffarobe in November - Tom avoids a potential trap by saying he thinks Mayella

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

    of them near him bringing down the property values of his shack by the town dump. Tom's account of Mayella's actions suggests that he may have indulged in some form of incest with his daughter, but the taboo against relationships between white women and black men is so strong that even Bob Ewell is shocked and horrified by it.

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

    Your father's passin'.'" Page 211 Analysis: The people on the balcony realize how hard Atticus tried to let the truth be known. Even though they lost their case they show high respect for him. Reverend Sykes even asks Scout to stand which shows how respectful and well mannered he is.

  1. Show To What Extent You Agree That Racial Prejudice Is Lessening In Maycomb

    He announces ?I ain't had a speck of trouble out of him? which is surprising as not many men at that time would have done something like that and been brave enough and felt so strongly to make a stand.

  2. How does Harper Lee prepare us in chapter 1 for what is to come ...

    Jem and Tom Robinson have a similarity which Harper Lee has cleverly added as it connects the two characters who socially shouldn?t mix as one is white and the other black. By doing this Harper Lee prepares us to be appalled by the unfair verdict of the trial because as

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