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Black Or White: Moralistic Communities To Highlight Sin Of Killing A Mockingbird

2129 words - 9 pages

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most popular fictions about racial inequality in America. Her portrayal of the Black community is amazingly positive and has therefore triggered discussion. In the fiction, while most of the white people treat the Black poorly and are evil-like, the blacks are generally genial and miserable. Atticus remarks that some Negroes do lie and act immorally. In this case, the rather one-sided Black community in the book seems to be idealized while the White community may be presented as too negative. Lee’s choice of an idealized Black community over a realistic one and a prejudicious White community can be elucidated by her intention to highlight how the black people are oppressed in the white-dominated society.
On the whole the Black community in To Kill a Mockingbird is depicted as kind-hearted and pitiful. As stated by KJ (2009), nearly every member in the group has commendable character and innocent nature. This is best reflected in the most prominent black characters, Tom and Calpurnia, who are both regular church attendees. Calpurnia is the cook in the Finch family and brings up the children. Cal is caring and treats the Finches like her own kids. Every Saturday night, Cal washes Scout’s hair; Every Sunday morning, she carefully checks Jem’s and Scout’s clothes. Not only does she take care of the household, but she also gives Jem and Scout moral and writing lessons. She cares about the growing up of both Jem and Scout: asks Scout to leave Jem alone when she senses that Jem is becoming an adult, teaches Jem to take care of his sister and Scout about hospitality. When the mad dog Tim Johnson is coming near to the house, Cal shows her kindness by informing the neighbourhood, she even risks her life to run to tell the isolated Radleys. She also demonstrates her loyalty and love for the children by “yelling” them back into the house and ensuring their safety before her own. As an employee, Calpurnia definitely does much more than her responsibilities. For instance, when Atticus is busy with his work, Cal is always ready to extend her working hours and stay overnight in the house. In short, Calpurnia is portrayed as a responsible and friendly person who cares about not only the Finch family but also the neighbourhood.
Another important black character is Tom Robinson, whose kindness and politeness are perhaps even more salient than Calpurnia’s. In the trial scene, we are presented a well-mannered and honorable man. When he answers questions from either Atticus or Mr. Gilmer, he adds the word “suh” (“sir”) in almost every turn, showing respect which is absent in the Ewells’ speech. Mr. Gilmer’s calling him “boy” further emphasizes Tom’s generosity and politeness. As he bears his testimony and addresses the girl who makes false charges against him as Miss Mayella, readers recognize that Tom is decent to the lonely Mayella from Scout’s eye. Scout approves Tom’s honesty as well, she even thinks that Tom is a...

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