Prejudice in To Kill A Mockingbird
“Prejudice is a learned trait. You’re not born prejudice; you’re taught it” –Charles R Swindoll. The novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is about a young girl named Scout who lives in a world filled with prejudice. There are many instances and types of prejudice in the novel. A man named Tom Robinson was convicted for doing a crime he never did because of the color of his skin. To this day, Tom would have never been tried because the evidence assuredly shows he is not guilty. One only becomes prejudice if you are taught it from other prejudice people. Harper Lee shows this idea throughout her novel through her characters, dialogue and theme.
An example of characters that portray racism is a woman named Lula. Lula is an African American who attends Calpurnia’s church and she shows that even the people who are subjected to racism are racist themselves. Lula scolds Calpurnia for bringing white children to their church. “Lula stopped, but she said, ‘You ain't got no business bringin' white chillun here—they got their church, we got our'n. It is our church, ain't it, Miss Cal?’”(P112). In this quote, Scout and Jem experience racism for the first time. Lula is a victim of racism but is racist back to them. Even though Scout and Jem aren’t colored, they felt how it feels to be discriminated because of how they look or where they come from. They are put into a unique situation because they are the objects of someone’s racism, and that normally doesn’t happen. However, Lulu isn’t the only character in the book that shoes racism. Majorities of the people who live in Maycomb are racist. "She was white, and she tempted a Negro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable: she kissed a black man. Not an old Uncle, but a strong young Negro man. No code mattered to her before she broke it, but it came crashing down on her afterwards" (p235). The citizens of Maycomb are more convinced that a colored man raped a white girl other than a white girl kissing a colored man. This shows that they’d side with a white person no matter how ridiculous it sounds because white people have more power over colored people. These characters act unreasonable to each other just because of the color of their skin.
Harper Lee also uses dialogue in her novel to help display prejudice that went on in this time period. The way people talked and referred to colored people showed no respect for them. Mr. Ewell says, "I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin' on my Mayella!"(231). Mr. Ewell doesn’t refer to Tom as a human, or even use the word “he”. He lays emphasis on his race over everything else, and characterizes power to Mayella making her seem like a victim when she is not. Mr. Ewell also has the nerve to call Tom a “nigger” in the courtroom in front of many other colored...