Predjudice In To Kill A Mockingbird

1331 words - 5 pages

Prejudice is arguably the most prominent theme of the novel. It is directed towards groups and individuals in the Maycomb community. Prejudice is linked with ideas of fear superstition and injustice.Racial prejudice consumed the mob (pg 166), which wished to prevent Tom even gaining a court hearing, the most basic form of justice. This is probably the fiercest form of prejudice in the novel.The abolition of slavery after the civil war gave blacks the same legal position as many whites in America. This initially made Blacks´ lives harder because now the Whites saw them as competitors for jobs during the 30s depression. Fear and paranoid led to the Whites believing that the Blacks desired all the whites had, including their women.Aunt Alexandra´s attitude to CalpurniaThe Missionary tea ladies´ comments about the BlacksSegregation of White and Black in MaycombDolphus Raymond - White man living with Black womanClass & Family Group is recognised by Jem on page 249 "There are four kinds of folks in the world..." -· Finches & neighbours: White middle-class· Cunninghams: Badly hit farming community· Ewells: Lowest class of whites 'White Trash´· Blacks: Seen as bottom of social strataDue to the abolition of slavery there was no longer a clear-cut line between the Ewells and the Blacks; skin colour did not make them any better.When Tom said in the trial that he felt sorry for Mayella (a crime worse than rape in the jury´s eyes) - the lowest class showing superiority for a class above themselves. The white community was frightened for their own position in society; the only reason Tom was found guilty was to maintain the traditional hierarchies.Alexandra is obsessed with heredity and educating Scout and Jem of their superior family background - she will not allow Scout to bring home a Cunningham to play, nor will she allow her to visit Calpurnia at her home. Everyone in Maycomb has a particular "streak" (pg 143), mean streak, drinking streak etc. There is a lot of pigeon holing families (pg 145).Gender - At the time the novel is set, women were still regarded as unequal to men. Scout learns this from:· Miss Maudie in terms of religion (pg 50)· Atticus in terms of the law - no women on juries· Alexandra in expected terms of dress and behaviourHowever, there was an idealised view of women held at the time - the Southern Gentleman was excepted to be chivalrous to Southern Belles and that these women were to be protected and almost worshiped. Mayella played on this idea at the trial to blackmail the jury into defending her.Tom Robinson´s hearing was thus not only racial, but also class and gender prejudice entered into it.INDIVIDUALSPrejudice directed towards individuals in the novel who do not fit into the expected behavioural patterns of society and about whom little is known. This is fed by:Fear - Children are frightened of Boo Radley; an outsider to society whom...

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