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Prejudice In Maycomb In The 1930's In To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

2152 words - 9 pages

Prejudice in Maycomb in the 1930's in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The prominent theme of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird is the portrait
of prejudice, in a small southern American town called Maycomb in the
1930’s.

Maycomb is believed to be a replica, of the town Monroeville where the
author Harper Lee grew up. Her knowledge of the society in Monroeville
(Maycomb) enables her to hit the reader with more impact; she can
portray her views on prejudice and discrimination with stronger force
and focus. She gives a realistic representation of people’s attitudes
in the Deep South in the 1930’s.

Slavery had been abolished in America after the civil war of 1861-5
this gave black people equal rights. But their freedom made life
harder for black people initially, white people (especially in the
south), found it hard to accept them as an equal in their society, so
they remained segregated.

This is shown in the novel, the black community has its own part of
the town, on the outskirts, near the town dump. Also they have their
own church, First Purchase African M.E. Church paid for from the first
earnings from freed slaves. ‘Negroes worshipped in it on Sundays and
white men gambled in it on weekdays’, this shows blatant disrespect
for the black community. This segregation is also evident in the
courthouse, white people sit in the courtroom, where as the coloured
people had to sit in the coloured balcony, they were only allowed to
enter the courtroom, when every white person had gone in and taken
their seats.

Being in the midst of the economic depression of 1929, poverty swept
the country, the white community saw black people as competitors for
jobs, they also believed they desired everything they possessed even
their women.

The Ewells are considered ‘white trash’, by the Maycomb community,
they are very poor, uneducated and like the black community live next
to the town dump. Since slavery had been abolished there wasn’t a
great difference in how people see the lower class white people and
black people. Mayella Ewell accuses Tom Robinson a local black man of
raping her, the white people automatically deem Tom ‘guilty’, simply
because of his colour. Even though the Robinsons, regularly attend
church and it is said ‘they’re clean-living folks’. Tom is found
guilty even before he is tried. This is all in keeping with the
attitudes of people in the Deep South in the 1930’s where the black
community were still victims of prejudice. Atticus Finch Maycomb’s
lawyer and conscience, takes on Tom’s case and embarks on the
unenviable task, of ensuring he gets a fair trial. Atticus is the main
character in the novel; he is a man of great integrity, he shows great
courage, tolerance and he believes you never really understand a
person ‘until you climb into his skin and walk...

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