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Challenging Stereotypes In To Kill A Mocking Bird

1684 words - 7 pages

It is a dark and beautiful night in downtown New York City. A young couple are strolling around town minding their own business. Suddenly, they feel tiny drops of water drizzling from the sky. It starts to rain. They make their way to an alley since it would be a much faster route. They come to a halt as they see three homeless black males sitting against the brick walls- right in their path. Their faces show anger and despair. The couple hesitate- not knowing what to do. Should they go back? Or should they go through? It’s as if their fear is instinctive as they stumble a bit, then freeze… Everyday, in the world, there are many times where situations like the one above occur. They affect all people and is a social part of life- stereotypes. In the situation above, it brings up controversial ideas that are very real in our society. They deal with racism, prejudice, discrimination, and with the most relevant being stereotypes. According to Merriam-Webster, stereotypes are “...conforming to a fixed oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgement” (Merriam-Webster, Stereotype). They make people hold in mixed feelings when interacting with specific types of people since it all depends on the person. This causes people to have narrow minds, have negative attitudes, and hurt others. Why do we have these mindsets? Will they change? No one really knows. What we do know is that times have certainly changed than say the 1930s. In the book, “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, the topic of racism and stereotypes is greatly explored through the eyes of young Scout Finch, the protagonist, who is oblivious to the cruel world she lives in. Throughout the book, we can see that stereotypes are destructive to society by discouraging growth in individuals.
Stereotypes in its very nature is meant for people who think and act narrow mindedly s if they are not open for new ideas but instead are stuck to predeterminations. This makes us interact with others in a dishonest unnoble fashion. In the story, Cecil Jacobs, a classmate of Scout’s, uses a prejudice voice towards Scout’s father and his choices “You can just take that back, boy! This order, given by me to Cecil Jacobs…” (Lee, 99) This is because in “To Kill A Mockingbird”, Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, is defending a black man for his supposed crimes. Due to the town’s narrow-mindedness, this stirs up various rumors and opinions about Atticus- most being negative. And it is not just the adults who gossip as the children also get “the disease”(i.e., Cecil Jacobs). At one point, Scout’s older brother, Jem Finch, snaps on their neighbour Mrs. Dubose for being the “...vicious” woman she is (Lee, 133). He acts with much aggression and fury as he she too says bad things about Atticus. “...for a few minutes he simply went mad” (Lee, 136). Later on we see Jem regret his actions of being narrow-minded and not looking at life through Mrs.Dubose’s eyes due to the hard life she...

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