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Write about the different kinds of prejudice in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and the injustices to which they give rise.

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Introduction

"To Kill a Mockingbird" Coursework Write about the different kinds of prejudice in "To Kill a Mockingbird" and the injustices to which they give rise. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee is a novel set in the early 1930s in a fictional town called Maycomb. This town was supposed to be situated in Alabama but could represent any one of the small southern towns in the USA around that time. The book is written from the viewpoint of Scout, a five-year-old girl. Prejudice is an "opinion formed without taking the time or care to judge fairly." This opinion may be favourable or unfavourable and is held without regard to the available evidence. A prejudiced person might believe that all individuals of a certain age, colour, ethnic group, religion or sex are lazy, violent, stupid, or greedy. During the time in which the book was set many different forms of prejudice were considered to be "normal". Some of these prejudices, such as racial prejudice, are still common in today's society whereas others are still held by a minority of people only, such as prejudice against those who are atheistic. An injustice is "the violation or denial of justice." Prejudice is unjust because the opinion is usually formed about a whole group of people, regardless of personal merit. ...read more.

Middle

When she "cussed" in front of her Uncle Jack she was asked "Don't you want to grow up to be a young lady?" This implied that it would be acceptable for a male to use swear words but not for a female. Aunt Alexandra also often instructed Scout to wear dresses "like a proper young lady." in preference to her usual attire of "breeches". She was also told she should not do anything "requiring pants." Which meant she was supposed to amuse herself playing with "small stoves, tea-sets and wearing the Add-A-Pearl necklace". Upon realising how limiting life was as an upper middle class woman in Maycomb she said, "I felt the starched walls of cotton penitentiary closing in on me". I think it is unjust that Scout should be forced to behave like a stereotypical "lady" simply because she is female. Scout was not the only victim of this sexism. All the middle class women were very restricted at that time. They did not go to work; the only working women we are introduced to in the novel are black, or low class teachers. Many of these "ladies" also had servants to do their housework. This meant they had a lot of spare time to waste in activities such as attending meetings with the other "Maycomb ladies." ...read more.

Conclusion

He also placed a blanket around Scout when she was forced to wait outside in the cold while watching Miss Maudie's house burn down. These actions proved that the rumours and prejudices of the Maycomb citizens were incorrect and therefore they had been unjustly taunting him. Mrs Dubose was also subjected to the discriminative residents of Maycomb, particularly Jem and Scout. As with "Boo" Radley, rumours around the town that she was mad, violent or evil were common. Her comments may have been "vicious" but nobody made the effort to get to know her as a person. In fact, the reason for her bad-tempered outbursts was a continuous fight against morphine addiction. It was unjust of people to judge her without attempting to find a reason behind her behaviour. I think the people in Maycomb were afraid of change and were therefore intolerant towards most people who were different. The fact that the story is told from the eyes of an innocent child helps us to see things as they really were and also how, in the case of Arthur Radley and Mrs Dubose, prejudices can quickly be transferred from person to person. Even a child picked up the town's prejudices towards these people. The novel helps us to see how prejudices can lead to unacceptable injustices and has something to teach everyone about how prejudices can affect and rule our lives. ?? ?? ?? ?? Nicola Squire 10NW Page 1 02/05/2007 ...read more.

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