In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, many minor themes are present such as gender and age. However, the largest and therefore major theme of the book is racism. All of the events and themes in the book had only one purpose, to support the theme of racism.
One of the most important events in the book was Tom Robinson’s trial, which was unfairly judged due to the fact that the jury could not see beyond the color of Tom’s skin. The put their own racist opinions ahead of what is right and just. One of the most important events in the novel circulated around racism. However, the most focused on point of Tom’s life was not the only point in his life where racism has been shown towards him. The Ewell’s are a major source of racism towards Tom. Whenever Mayella Ewell wanted Tom to help her, she was rude to him whereas Tom was very kind to her. Tom was even nice enough to refuse payment of his work for her since he saw that she was poor and realized she needed the money. For his kindness, Tom is returned with bitterness with the only reason for this being because of the color of his skin.
Mayella was not the only person who was insensitive to Tom. In the cross-examination, the prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Horace Gilmer was unpleasant towards Tom; acting rude and calling him boy. Although one might think this is due to his personality, as Dill pointed out “He didn't act that way when- (he was talking to his own witnesses)”. Mr. Gilmer was plain disrespectful to Tom unlike Mr. Finch who was just a humane to Tom as he was to the others he cross-examined.
Racism was just present in the attitude towards African-Americans but in the African-Americans themselves. For example, Calpurnia acted very differently when in the presence of other African-Americans than she normally did. When with the Finch’s Calpurnia acts like any other person being proper with correct grammar. This was unlike how African-Americans would act during this time-period. They would have a specific way of speaking without proper grammar. This was shown by the attitude and behavior by the members in the church. During church, if Calpurnia had acted proper she would have been seen as acting like a Caucasian and seen as racist. To prevent this, she acted like everybody else.
Calpurnia’s son Zeebo is another example of racism. In everyday society, he is seen as just a low garbage man however, in church he is one of the most important figures as he is one of only four members of the church who can read. In addition, he leads the hymns since he can read. In the church, the method used for the hymns is the "repeat after me" method. Zeebo starts a line of the hymns and the line is the repeated by the rest of the church. Instead of just being a lowly garbage man, which is what the Caucasian population of Maycomb County, sees him, as he is a very important figure in the eyes of the African- American church members.
Although racism was commonly present in Maycomb County, many individuals were non-racist....