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Personal Reaction Essay

745 words - 3 pages

One of the major themes of To Kill A Mockingbird is the existence of the many forms of prejudice in everyday life. Several different things contribute to its presence. Those who are prejudiced against others are often motivated by greed, pride, or fear. Ignorance often comes into play as well. In the novel, the effects of prejudice are widespread and sometimes result in devastating consequences.A mention of prejudice is on the very first page of the book. It occurred when Scout was describing her family history. Her ancestor, Simon Finch, fled England due to '"'the persecution of those who called themselves Methodists.'"' (3). This is an example of a prejudice caused by ignorance. The Christian groups who disapproved of the Methodists"'" conservative views did not bother to try and understand the reasons behind them. Though the book did not mention what the effects of the persecution were, one can naturally assume that they were unpleasant.Boo Radley is another character that is a victim of prejudice. Boo had been driven into seclusion by his abusive father and brother. Years went by, and the pitiable figure slowly became an object of fear and ridicule in the town of Maycomb. The townspeople were prejudiced against him because they were afraid of him. He was commonly viewed as a freak or a monster and became associated with unexplained incidents in Maycomb.Very few people dedicated the time and effort that is crucial in understanding a man like Arthur '"'Boo'"' Radley. According to Jem, Boo remained hidden because he was disgusted by the injustices and prejudice in the outside world. Boo"'"s nature is also reflected in Atticus"'" advice to his children: '"'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit "'"em, but remember it"'"s a sin to kill a mockingbird.'"' (90). Boo is essentially a '"'mockingbird,'"' an innocent destroyed by evil.The social hierarchy of Maycomb led to prejudice as well. The people near the top of the ladder often thought of themselves as being superior, and looked down on others with disdain. This process continued until it reached what was considered the pit of society.An excellent example is Jem and Scout"'"s Aunt Alexandra, who is adamantly proud of their lineage. She stereotypes nearly...

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