Using The Novel "To Kill A Mockingbird" Discuss The Way The Author, Harper Lee, Deals With Issues Of Racism.

2055 words - 8 pages

The novel "To Kill a Mockingbird", written by Harper Lee, deals with issues of racism using the voice of Scout Finch, the narrative's young protagonist. Scout is a young girl living in the fictional town of Maycomb, a small isolated community that is tainted with racial discrimination and prejudice. Scout lives with her widowed father Atticus, her brother Jem and the household's black nurse, cook, and substitute mother Calpurnia. In "To Kill a Mockingbird", Scout, Jem and Dill (the children's friend) are gradually yet brutally introduced to racial prejudice and adult injustice through their experiences and adventures as children living during the Great Depression in America. Throughout the Great Depression, a time in which economic prosperity was at an all-time low, segregation, discrimination and racism were prominent, especially towards the black population of America."To Kill a Mockingbird" has a strong theme of racism which Scout highlights in the novel, especially in Part II, which is the court case of a black man named Tom Robinson. Tom was falsely accused of raping and severely beating a white girl named Mayella Ewell, and is taken to court by the person who actually beat Mayella; her father, Bob Ewell.Another occurrence of racism which is not only common in "To Kill a Mockingbird" but all over America in this time, was an etiquette structure called 'Jim Crow' laws. Because of the Jim Crow laws, black Americans were denied basic civil and human rights. The rules are seen during the court case. The Jim Crow system was very important in places like Maycomb, and when Mayella Ewell made advances towards Tom Robinson, it was a major 'crime' in the eyes of the community, and another crime was for Tom to feel sorry for Mayella. This was one of the reasons that Tom was taken to court.Racism is also apparent in other individual cases, like against Atticus, who is a lawyer, for choosing to defend Tom in court, and against Mr Dolphus Raymond for marrying a black woman. Both of these many and other characters in the novel are sympathetic to the troubles faced by the black population of the community, which is why they were confronted with racism.The Great Depression lasted from the end of 1929 until the onset of the Civil War, a time when unemployment was extremely high and entire country of America was suffering from great poverty. Although the 13th Amendment had been passed and freedom had been granted to all black slaves, the 'Jim Crow' system was still in force in the Southern States of America, and because of the sudden lack in jobs, unnecessary blame fell upon the Negroes because they were supposedly lesser than white people. This set of unwritten rules was developed because of the perceived supremacy of white people, and they dictated the way black people were to behave towards whites across the Southern States of America. In Maycomb these behavioural rules affected every character in the book, and this was especially apparent during the...

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