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Prejudice In To Kill A Mockingbird & Telephone Conversation

1164 words - 5 pages

The dictionary defines prejudice as a learned, preformed, and unsubstantiated judgment or opinion about an individual or a group, either favorable or unfavorable in nature. Through the study of the book, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and the poem Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka, ones understanding of prejudice and what makes up prejudice changes considerably for what could be perceived as for the better or for the worse. Being ignorant of what is happening or not knowing and properly understanding what prejudice is can make it easy to turn a blind eye to what is happening around you. Learning what prejudice is makes one more conscious of what is happening right next to you in everyday life. Being educated about prejudice is one step closer to a more peaceful life but prejudice will likely never completely disappear, like George Aiken says, “If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon.” Ones perception of the concept of prejudice is primarily determined by the environment in which one grew up. As Sydney Smith said, “Never try to reason the prejudice out with a man. It was not reasoned into him, and therefore cannot be reasoned out.” It is evident that ones opinion of other people reflects back to the ethics that they were brought up with.
From the eyes of the young and innocent Jean Louise ‘Scout’ Finch, we follow the story of Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley and Tom Robinson in the deceivingly quaint town of Maycomb where these two innocent men’s lives are ruined by the evil of other men and women. The two men are the ‘mockingbirds’ of the story, good, innocent people, hurt by the injustice, hatred and prejudice of a small town. In the beginning of the story, Scout observes what happens around her with naivety and childhood innocence. Her and her brother, Jeremy Atticus ‘Jem’ Finch were raised by their widowed father, Atticus, who had instilled in his children a strong sense of justice and ethics at an early age.
To Kill A Mockingbird, is an exceptional reflection of the attitudes and morals of the whites and blacks in the 1930’s. Suffering from the Great depression, the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, is divided, blacks or ‘negroes’ from whites. Both the black and the white community harbour ill thoughts about each other, their prejudices against one another blinding them of any reason or logic. In the book, it is stated that “In our courts, when its white man’s word against a black man’s, the white always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.” Tom Robinson was a victim of a town where black men were inferior to white people who assumed that all negroes lie. Atticus Finch, a white man who is the black mans lawyer is not prejudiced against blacks like the rest of the town is. He attempts to persuade an already biased jury of white men to feel their sense of morality and ethics. As Kate Chopin said in The Awakening, Atticus...

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