The Theme Of Prejudice In To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

1903 words - 8 pages

To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee Show how the theme of prejudice is
explored through the Characters of Boo, Atticus and Scout.

"Show how the theme of prejudice is explored through the Characters of
Boo, Atticus and Scout."

In the following essay I am going to show how the theme of prejudice
is explored through the Characters of Boo, Atticus and Scout.

Prejudice in the novel is directed towards groups as well as individuals.

As the novel progresses, the children's changing attitude toward Boo
Radley is an important measurement of their development from innocence
toward a grown-up moral perspective. At the beginning of the book, Boo
is merely a source of childhood superstition. For Scout and Jem, their
source of adventure was Boo Radley. Boo Radley was the legend of
Maycomb. Scout illustrates the legend of Boo when she explains,
"Inside the house live a malevolent phantom, People said he existed,
but Jem and I had never seen him." In a way, Boo is like ghost,
everyone knows he exists, but no one had ever seen him. All it needed
was a few curious children to reveal the life of this mystery man, and
expose his real true personality. Boo's life had been ruined by
prejudice - the rumours about him. The stories circulating about Boo
kept him away from all the other people, when really, Boo was not
malevolent. In reality, he was just a shy, middle aged man who was
ostracized by the world for his differences. As he leaves Jem and
Scout presents and mends Jems trousers, he gradually becomes
increasingly and intriguingly real to them. At the end of the novel,
he becomes fully human to Scout, illustrating that she has developed
into a sympathetic and understanding individual.

One day, after much thought, Scout asked Dill as to why Boo never
tried to escape from the premises of the "Radley House". His reply to
her came from his twelve year old mind having just witnessed one of
the most prejudiced (but normal for that era, right after the
depression) acts of their time, the Tom Robinson Trial.

"Maybe he doesn't have anywhere to run off to." he said. However, Boo
did not stay locked up in his "prison" forever. He emerged one
Halloween night, when he saved the lives of Jem and Scout. That was
the night he proved to all of Maycomb his real self, not his
fictional, murderous self. Later on in the novel, Scout recites one of
Atticus' favourite adages:

"Atticus was right. One time he said, 'You never really know a man
until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.' Just standing
on the Radley porch was enough."

Atticus Finch is virtually unique in the novel in the respect he has
experienced and understood evil without losing his faith in the human
capacity for goodness. Atticus understands that, rather than being
simply creatures of good or evil, most people have both good and bad
qualities. The important thing is to appreciate the good qualities and
understand the bad qualities by treating...

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