To Kill a Mockingbird

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Elizabeth Adeniran                                                   TKAMB COURSEWORK

To Kill a Mockingbird

        The novel as a whole seems to be a reliable and unexaggerated portrait of southern American’s prejudice. It implies that society disciplines children into being discriminative by pointing out that when people are treated unfairly “only the children weep.” The book is very persuasive due to Lee's implications about society. She never directly attacks it but still manages to change the way the reader sees aspects of society and consider his own prejudices.

        In the novel, there are references to real life events that were happening at the time. For example, in 1930's sharecropping began in order to reconstruct the society after the civil war between the north and south, people such as The Cunninghams were victims of sharecropping, that is why they were poor. The cause of the war was to abolish slavery in the south, the south lost the war, but still believed black people were unequal to white people, so the segregation law was brought forward, i.e. white people and black people living in different settlements in a town. This did not please many black people, civil rights activists like Malcolm. X and Martin Luther King fought for black people’s freedom. Malcolm X was assassinated, but Martin Luther King continued the fight until something was done.

        Many people found the book shocking, as a white woman who was openly opposed to the way black people were treated wrote it. The most important theme in the novel is prejudice, and it occurs in many different forms throughout the novel. The book is primarily about the way we treat those who are different to us, not only in race but also in lifestyle, such as Boo Radley and Mr Dolphus Raymond, they are outcasts because they choose to live their lives differently. Mrs Maudie is also an example of a victim of prejudice as shown in the book she was a woman (sexism) in society, also religion prejudice shown towards her from the foot washing Baptist.

        The people of Monroeville and other places in southern American districts would have recognised themselves and can identify the part that they played in the society. This illustrates the connection between the society in the 1930s and the fictional narrative. The foundation of the novel is based on Lee’s semi-autobiography. Having the book so accurate, means she can then hit the reader with more impact and can express her views on prejudice and discrimination with stronger force and more focus. She was writing about cultural events and things that only appeared in the news. She was saying where she stood in the civil rights argument.
        Originally, the book was written in the 1960’s, but was set in the 1930’s.
 Harper Lee interrelated Maycomb with her hometown Monroeville, Alabama, Scout perhaps represents author, and Lee’s father was a lawyer by profession. This gave her the upper hand because she knew the society very well. The Tom Robinson’s trial was based on the 'Scottsboro trials' of 1931, where nine black males were charged with raping two white girls. Much like the fictional trial of Tom Robinson, hordes of white villagers gathered to watch the fate of the boys, who, all except one, were given death sentences by the all white jury. All the boys eventually escaped state execution, but the event was typical of its time due to high rate of racism at the time.

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        In chapter XI, we are introduced to one of Lee’s main character.Mrs. Dubose. A woman, who at that time would be dealing with another form of prejudice Sexism, Mrs. Dubose, was prejudicial mainly towards Atticus because of his dealings with the Tom Robinson’s case; she looked down on the family and was discriminative towards them. “Not only a finch waiting on tables but, one in the court house lawing for niggers”. She was not only prejudicial towards Atticus’s family but also towards black people. Ironically, her house cleaner that looks after her is also black.

        At the end of chapter ...

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