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Ignorance Does Not Permit Judgment Essay

1112 words - 5 pages

Ignorance is the act of being unaware. This is evident in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, and also in the two articles, “The Lynching of Emmett Till,” by Chris Crowe, and “Man Guilty of Murder in Texas Dragging Death", by Rick Lyman. In To Kill a Mockingbird, there are many examples of ignorance, such as Scout's ignorance, or the racist tendencies of Maycomb County residents. In the Emmett Till article, there is evidence of ignorance in the way Till doesn't understand the "southern way of life", and the overall acquittal of his murder. In the Texas Dragging news report, the racist ways of the murderer, John King, are considered a form of ignorance. Ignorance leads to to the unjust judgment of others.
Harper Lee protray's ignorance throughout her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The main character, Scout, although young and naive, starts to judge people, such as Miss. Caroline, based on only what she knows. Atticus, her father, then explains, "...Scout, you'll get along better with all kinda of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it" (Lee 30). Scout then uses this motto throughout the book, trying to understand others, such as Jem, the Ewells, Boo, and even Atticus. A prime example of ignorance is the character Harper Lee seemingly created to be a symbol of ignorance itself. Mayella Ewell is the eldest daughter of the Ewell family, nutorious for their disrespect for others and the law. When she and her father accuse a black man, Tom Robinson, of raping her, she is called to the witness stand. There, she displays her ignorance for the whole court to see. After refusing to answer Atticus's questions, she says, "Long's you keep on makin' fun o' me... Long's he keeps callin' me ma'am and sayin' Miss Mayella. I don't have to take his sass. I ain't called upon to take it" (Lee 182). Mayella shows the court through her own dialogue how ignorant she is to social norms, through her own choice. In the novel it is stated that the Ewells only go to school one day of the year, per government demands. Her own decisions cause her ignorance towards others. The most aggervating display of ignorance is at the end of the Tom Robinson trial. Throughout the trial there has been such compelling evidence that proves Mr. Robinson not-guilty. Such as the fact that Mayella Ewell's face was more bruised on the right side of her face, proving a left handed attacker, but Tom Robinson's left hand was crippled when he was younger. But despite this evidence, Scout narrates, "A jury never looks at a defendant it had convicted, and when this jury came in, not one of them looked at Tom Robinson" (Lee 211). The jury proves to be ignorant of all evidence that proves Tom Robinson guilty, and purely bases his verdict on the sole fact of his skin color. The jury is ignorant to racial equality, and places unjust judgement on Tom Robinson, that ultimately cost him his...

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