Prejudice In To Kill A Mockingbird Essay

Prejudice is a central theme in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel explores the effects of prejudice on both an individual and societal level.

On an individual level, prejudice is seen in the characters of Scout and Jem Finch. Both children are initially prejudiced against Boo Radley, a reclusive neighbour who they believe to be a dangerous monster. However, their views change once they get to know him and come to understand that he is not dangerous at all. Their father, Atticus Finch, also teaches them not to judge people based on their appearance or reputation, but to instead look at them for who they really are.

On a societal level, prejudice is evident in the way that African Americans are treated in the town of Maycomb. African Americans are segregated from whites and are not seen as equal to them. This is most evident in the trial of Tom Robinson, an African American man who is accused of raping a white woman. Even though it is clear that he is innocent, he is still found guilty by the all-white jury and is ultimately killed.

Prejudice is a complex issue that can have both positive and negative effects on individuals and society as a whole. To Kill a Mockingbird highlights the importance of understanding and accepting people for who they are, regardless of their appearance or background.

Everyone develops first impressions of others, but if you let these early thoughts determine your conclusion about someone’s character, it becomes the beginnings of the unfavorable trait known as prejudice. In Harper Lee’s story, To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout—a young girl—grows up in Maycomb, Alabama; a small town that discriminates against many.

Prejudice is defined as “an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Prejudice can be based on many different characteristics including race, gender, age, religion, and social status. In To Kill a Mockingbird, the characters experience all different types of prejudice.

One example of prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird is when Scout and her brother Jem are attacked by Bob Ewell. Mr. Ewell is angry because Atticus Finch defended Tom Robinson, a black man who was accused of rape. Even though Tom Robinson was innocent, Mr. Ewell blames Atticus and his family for what happened to him.

Harper Lee shows how destructive prejudice can be when it leads to violence, like in the case of the Ewell family. However, To Kill a Mockingbird also demonstrates that there is hope for change. Attorney Atticus Finch is one example of someone who breaks down barriers caused by prejudice. Atticus is a white man living in the racially divided town of Maycomb, but he treats everyone with respect regardless of their skin color. He does not believe that one race is better than another, and he teaches this valuable lesson to his children Scout and Jem.

Near the end of To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus says, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what” (Lee 274).

Atticus’s definition of true courage demonstrates how much he has changed over the course of the novel. At the beginning of To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus was reluctant to defend Tom Robinson because he knew that it would be an uphill battle. Even though he knew he would be met with opposition, Atticus still took on Tom’s case because he believed in doing what was right.

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is an important novel about the dangers of prejudice and the power of courage. Through the eyes of Scout Finch, readers gain a new perspective on the world and learn that everyone deserves to be treated fairly. To Kill a Mockingbird is a timeless classic that continues to teach valuable lessons about empathy and understanding.

In Maycomb, people often gossip about others and these rumors are usually embellished versions of the truth. Harper Lee demonstrates that discrimination can come from someone’s physical appearance as well as from outside influences.

The town’s people are small-minded and judgmental, so they create stereotypes to feel better about themselves. The novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is set in the 1930’s in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. The town is segregated into white and black communities with very little interaction between the two. There are three main types of prejudice that are portrayed in To Kill a Mockingbird: racial, gender, and social class.

Racial prejudice is evident from the beginning of the novel when Atticus Finch is appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a white girl. Atticus knows that he will not be able to win the case because of the racial prejudice that exists in Maycomb. He tells Scout, “It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what” (Lee 112).

Atticus is aware of the racism in his town, but he does not let it stop him from doing what he knows is right. The racial prejudice against blacks is also seen when a mob comes to lynch Tom Robinson and Atticus has to talk them out of it. Bob Ewell, the father of the girl who accused Tom of raping her, is angry that Atticus was able to get Tom off on a technicality. He threatens Atticus and his family, but Atticus is not afraid of him.

Gender prejudice is also present in To Kill a Mockingbird. Scout is a tomboy who does not like to wear dresses or do other “girly” things. She is constantly getting into fights with boys and she does not understand why she cannot do the things that they can do. She says, “I just don’t see why I have to act like a girl… It’s not fair” (Lee 33).

Scout does not understand why she is not treated the same as the boys and she resents the fact that she has to behave differently just because she is a girl. The gender prejudice against women is also seen in Atticus’s relationship with his wife, Scout’s mother. Atticus is very disrespectful of his wife and he often criticizes her in front of the children. He says, “Your mother’s not quite herself today… She’s got a touch of the flu” (Lee 12). Atticus is clearly not very fond of his wife and he does not think highly of women in general.

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