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Harper Lee's Novel: To Kill A Mockingbird

1108 words - 5 pages

The themes of racism and innocence are explicit in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird. There are many examples of discrimination in the story where one’s innocence is lost. Arthur Radley is isolated in his own home because of the spread of false rumors. Racism causes Tom Robinson, a black man to lose his life, even though he is innocent. Those who support blacks are judged, like Atticus, Jem and Scout. How does discrimination affect those who are innocent? In the novel, a mockingbird represents innocence; it represents Atticus, Tom Robinson, and Arthur Radley. These characters are always criticised because of some kind of discrimination, whether it be rumors, their skin colour or their character, even though they are innocent. Through the characters of Atticus, Tom Robinson, and Arthur Radley, Harper Lee demonstrates that discrimination destroys those who are innocent, which leads to character judgement, loss of life and isolation.
Those who stand up for what is right are always being judged which has a negative effect on their lives. People always encourage others to stand up for their beliefs, but when someone does take a stand, they are judged. Individuals are often called harsh names, and judged even though they are innocent, just like Atticus. Mrs. Dubose is Atticus, Jem and Scout’s neighbour, who is very sick and is always insulting Atticus, who is supporting Tom Robinson in the court case. Mrs. Dubose insults Atticus by telling Jem and Scout, “Your father’s no better than the niggers and trash he works for” (Lee 135). Atticus defends Tom Robinson because he knows Tom is not guilty, he is innocent. However, because of this Atticus is called severe things like “nigger-lover” by many people, even though he is only standing up for the right thing. Not only those who stand up for the right thing are judged but those close to them are also judged. Judged to the extent that their lives are put in danger. Jem and Scout’s lives become endangered just because Atticus supported what was right. Atticus calls Heck Tate and informs him that, “Someone’s been after my children (353).” Bob Ewell attacks Jem and Scout, because their father was determined to stick up for the truth. Even though they are innocent, Bob Ewell attacks them, and the town of Maycomb criticizes them.
Racism causes emotional and physical pain. Discrimination is wrong, but that does not stop people from being racist and judging someone based on their skin colour. In To Kill a Mockingbird, there are many examples of discrimination in which readers learn that the person who is judged may be innocent, like Tom Robinson. Atticus tells Jem, “In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s word, the white always wins. They’re ugly but these are the facts of life (295).” Atticus says that it is the “facts of life” for black people to be judged and wrongly punished even if they are blameless. It is not right, but people still act with prejudice. Discrimination...

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