The Theme Of Racism In To Kill A Mockingbird

2567 words - 10 pages

One of the widely recognized controversies in American history is the 1930s, which housed the Great Depression and the post-civil war, the ruling of Plessy versus Ferguson and the Jim Crow Laws, and segregation. While textbooks detail the factual aspect of the time there is only one other literature that can exhibit the emotion experienced in the era. To Kill a Mockingbird is the acclaimed novel that displays the experiences of the South, through inequality and segregation, social class differences and the right to fairness. The novel’s experiences are narrated through a grown Scout, who appears as a little girl in the novel, offering her innocent views on the happenings in Maycomb County. The most observed aspect of the novel is race and racism; with Tom Robinson’s trial being the prime focus of the novel, the issue of race is bound to be discussed throughout the novel is race, racism and segregation; with Tom Robinson’s trial being the focus of the novel, the issue of race is heavily represented throughout the novel. With Mockingbird being a common book among English Language Arts and Literatures classrooms, the topic of race is bound to surface amid a young, twenty-first century group of student of students with the inevitability of this discussion, the question remains on how to approach the conversation as an educator. As an educator, one should seek to establish the context of the times, prepare the students for the conversation and examine the other characters and situations similarly to race. Educators must also be introspective before examining their students’ feelings, so that they are not surprised by their emotions and can also express their feelings to their students. The discussion should target a goal, one of examination and reflection, where students are able to comfortably understand their feelings, rather than feel conflicted with their classmates. To Kill a Mockingbird and the discussion of race should present a teachable moment or moments in the classroom, resulting in a beneficial outcome for all involved and a better understanding of the issues of the past and the presence of those issues in the present.
The first aspect that should be discussed is the title of the novel. The title is hinted at multiple times throughout the book; the first is when Jem wants to take his gun outside and he is told he can shoot all of the blue jays he would like but not mockingbirds. The reason behind this is given directly by Miss Maudie Atkinson as well as Atticus Finch:
“I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." That was the only time I ever hear Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. "You're father's right," she said. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one...

Find Another Essay On The Theme of Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird

The Theme of Prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird

2346 words - 9 pages The Theme of Prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ teaches us about the deceit and prejudice amongst the residents of Maycomb County, all of whom have very contrasting and conflicting views. We are told the story through the eyes of little girl, Scout, and the day-to-day prejudices she faces amongst society. Her father, Atticus, is a white man defending a Negro, even though the town frowns upon such a thing. He is

Racism presented in 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

707 words - 3 pages Harper Lee is an American author known for her novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird', renowned for dealing with issues of prejudice in the 1930's.One of the key points in which Harper Lee shows racism at its most obvious is during Tom Robinson's trial. In this scene Lee shows racial inequality, through the words of Mr Gilmer who repeatedly calls Tom Robinson 'boy'. The word is patronising and belittles Tom allowing the reader to empathise with him and

Relates to "To Kill a Mockingbird," by Harper Lee. Discusses the theme of "Racism in the First Half of the 20th Century"

897 words - 4 pages The turn of the century could be described as a higher point in Afro-American history, but in no way the lesser of two evils. After Lincoln's 1862 Emancipation Proclamation (and more so the 13th Amendment to the Constitution,) slavery was abolished. But moving on to the 20th century, segregation and racism still ran rapid in America. After seeing the end of the tunnel, African-Americans again they were pushed down into second-class status

Maycomb’s madness of Racism, in to Kill a Mockingbird

1004 words - 4 pages Every town has problems and the town of Maycomb from the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee is no different. Maycomb citizens are put forth with social problems created from racism. As a result of racism, physical abuse was plentiful in the town of Maycomb. The citizens of Maycomb were caught up in a cycle of racial discrimination, proving that racism does not benefit anyone. The citizens of Maycomb deal with many social issues due to

To Kill a Mockingbird: An Investigation of Racism in America

988 words - 4 pages Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is well renowned for giving accurate insight on racism in the southern United States in the early twentieth century, an issue that is still controversial in present day. Racism creates inequalities amongst different ethnic groups that have implications on the mental well being of individuals. The culture of racism needs to be put to an end as it is destructive for all members of society. Racism creates multiple

Theme of Courage in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

1796 words - 7 pages To Kill A Mockingbird is a book about courage to what extent do you agree with this? Harper Lee's first novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, displays the life of a small southern family struggling through the depression in Maycomb, Alabama. Seen through the innocent eyes of a young child are the events and people of Maycomb. Courage is a major theme in the novel but there are other themes like the Hypocrisy, Protecting the innocent and Prejudice

To Kill A Mockingbird - Theme of Courage

1953 words - 8 pages To Kill a Mockingbird is a book mainly about courage. Moreover, it contrasts and compares courage against many other themes in order to show the importance of courage. Throughout the book, Atticus, Jem, Scout, Tom and "Boo" Radley displayed courage. Courage shown by the aforementioned characters are contrasted and compared with the lack of education, fear and the prejudice of most of the Maycomb population. These comparisons exemplify the real

To Kill A Mockingbird Racism

620 words - 2 pages Throughout history, racism has played a major role in social relations. In Harper Lee's novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, this theme is presented to the reader and displays the shallowness of white people in the south during the depression. The assumption that Blacks were inferior is proved during the trial of Tom Robinson. Such characteristics served to justify the verdict of the trial. In this trial, Tom Robinson is accused of raping Mayella Ewell

The Effect of Courage as a Theme in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

1488 words - 6 pages Courage is defined as "that quality of mind or spirit enabling one to meet danger or opposition with fearlessness." According to Atticus Finch, one of the main characters in To Kill a Mockingbird, "Courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what." (124) No matter how one defines it, Harper Lee clearly portrays the theme of courage in her novel, "To Kill A Mockingbird". It is one

ESSAY: The theme of human dignity in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

1504 words - 6 pages Throughout history, people are often ranked and criticized by society. An individual's nationality, wealth and social status were closely looked over by society's eye. Thus, one's dignity would be decided based on society's opinion of them. In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the theme of human dignity is portrayed by Scout, Calpurnia, and Atticus. This essay will analyze the theme of human dignity and describe how this novel

To kill a mockingbird - How is the theme of prejudice and discrimination presented in the book?

1649 words - 7 pages To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel revolved mainly around the events before, during, and after the trial of a black man, Tom Robinson, who was accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white. As the summary in the book stated, "they (the children) begin to learn that life is not as straight-forward and as fair as it seemed through the eyes of their childhood...and how people react when they are forced to choose between their prejudices and what they know

Similar Essays

The Theme Of Racism In To Kill A Mockingbird

1327 words - 5 pages 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

The Evils Of Racism In To Kill A Mockingbird

1883 words - 8 pages The Evils of Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird To Kill a Mockingbird is inspired by the events that occurred during Harper Lee’s childhood. The setting in her novel is an allusion to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama around the time of the Scottsboro Boys Trials. In this novel, Lee illustrates the evils of racism to communicate the theme that everyone should be treated equally, not by the color of the person’s skin. In the case with Tom

The Destructive Nature Of Racism In To Kill A Mockingbird

2432 words - 10 pages Harper Lee grew up in the small town of Monroeville, Alabama where she lived with her parents Amasa Coleman and Frances Finch Lee. After graduating high school Lee attended Huntingdon College and The University of Alabama before she eventually quit school to pursue a writing career in New York City (Altman n.p.). The time frame in Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird is very important in helping the reader full understand racism and discrimination

The Theme Of Prejudice In To Kill A Mockingbird

630 words - 3 pages “To Kill a Mocking Bird” is a novel which was written by Harper Lee. In my essay I will discuss how Harper Lee explores the theme of prejudice by looking at the writing techniques and how they affect people. To Kill a Mocking Bird is a novel that explores prejudice in a small American town in the Deep South. It is set during the depression. One of the main features that the novel explores is the theme of racial prejudice. In the novel Tom