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

Write an essay on Harper Lee's presentation of the black characters in "To Kill A Mockingbird".

Extracts from this document...


Work based on Diverse Cultures and Traditions Question Write an essay on Harper Lee's presentation of the black characters in "To Kill A Mockingbird". Essay The story of To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is based in a fictional town in the southern state of Alabama, USA. The book was written and published just before the peak of the American civil rights movement. But the book became very popular in the 1960's because the atmosphere amongst the American citizens was very racially charged. The main plot of the story is that of the trial of Tom Robinson against the Ewells for his 'rape' of Mayella Ewell. He was found guilty of this charge because he was a black man giving his word against a white man. The black characters in the novel are all presented timid and well mannered. However, due to the attitudes of the society at the time the black citizens were 'below' the white citizens and were not even treated as third class citizens but more as animals, who have no feelings or rights in society. The actual trial of Tom Robinson is based on a trial that occurred when Lee was just five years old. In that trial nine black men were accused of raping two white women. ...read more.


She does this by introducing us to the characters of Calpurnia and Tom Robinson. Calpurnia is very trusted by the Finch family and this is shown when she teaches the children lessons about life and mannerisms. An example of this is when Walter Cunningham is over for dinner and Scout criticises how he eats his food. Calpurnia took Scout into the kitchen and said "Don't matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house's yo' comp'ny, and don't let me catch you remarkin' on their ways like you was so high and mighty! Yo' folks might be better'n the Cunninghams but it don't count for nothin' the way you're disgracin' 'em - if you cant act fit to eat at the table you can just set here and eat in the kitchen." This shows that Atticus has the faith in Calpurnia to allow her to teach and discipline Scout and Jem. Tom Robinson shows these characteristics when he tries to help Mayella Ewell. He felt sorry for her but she liked him yet as society did not belive that a black man could or should feel sorry for a white girl when he said he felt sorry for her, in the court room, the crowd of white citizens did not believe him. ...read more.


In conclusion, the blacks are honest, respectful, genuine and good people but the whites do not want to see this and treat them badly, although there are some exceptions. Just after the trial had finished Atticus was talking to Jem. He said to him "As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't forget it - whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash. ... There's nothing more sickening to me than a low-grade white man who'll take advantage of a Negro's ignorance. Don't fool yourselves - it's all adding up and one of these days we're going to be paying the bill for it. I just hope it's not in you children's time." By saying this I think Atticus is saying that the blacks will fight back and get their freedom and rights, which is what happened during the Civil Rights Movement a few years after To Kill A Mockingbird was published. The message of this particular theme of the novel is that everyone should not be treated unfairly just because they have a different skin colour, prefer to mix with different people to others or because they are uneducated. But moist importantly because society implies it. Stevie Brewster. 11.22 ...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

    Discuss Harper Lee's portrayal of the black community in To Kill A Mockingbird

    5 star(s)

    Also they show respect for Tom Robinson at the trial, while the white people all see it as a "gala occasion". The black people are also very proud, they do not want to accept gifts from people and would much rather make their own way.

  2. Peer reviewed

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

    4 star(s)

    He has lost out on a significant proportion of his life. The citizens of Maycomb think him different because they do not know him and are ignorant of him. Boo is discriminated against through no fault of his own. The town have no regard for him and he is either gossiped about or forgotten.

  1. What important lessons do the children learn in Part I of 'To Kill a ...

    He describes her as courageous saying, "I told you that if you hadn't lost your head I'd have made you go read to her...I wanted you to see what real courage is". He also gives him a box containing a white camellia which is a peace offering from Mrs Dubose.

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

    Some people claim that Harper Lee gained inspiration from this case, in which we could compare Atticus to Judge James E. Horton and Samuel Leibowitz. The Scotboroughs Case was about two prostitutes that did an illegal act (in Mayella's case, something forbidden)

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    fair in what it has given all beings, and using a tool like a gun to kill with allows him special privileges which nature never intended for him to use. Nature seems to have its own law which states that humans should not take advantage of their knowledge of machines

  2. The Presentation of Women in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

    At first, the children, especially Scout do not like this, but as the novel progresses I think they realise that she is only doing her best for them. Cal and Scout bond quite a lot through the novel, they sit and talk, and Calpurnia teaches Scout about keeping respect for people, and taking time to understand others.

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee - This case is as simple as ...

    the case they would have just left a couple of bullets just in his legs maybe to stop him running. Even if they were to kill him, it was not necessary to shoot him so many times; one bullet in the right place can kill a man.

  2. In the Style of Harper Lee, write a section of 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

    He descended, and placed the rose into the palm of my hand. 'Heya Dill, fancy you were comin' this time. Seen any picture shows lately?' Jem seemed to have decided on rebuilding the conversation with a change of attitude. 'You bet'ya.

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