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Themes Of Prejudice And Tolerance In To Kill A Mockingbird

816 words - 3 pages

The book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. It is set in the 1930s, a time when racism was very prominent. Harper Lee emphasizes the themes of prejudice and tolerance in her novel through the use of her characters and their interactions within the Maycomb community. The narrator of the story, Scout, comes across many people and situations with prejudice and tolerance, as her father defends a black man.

Racial prejudice is widespread in the county of Maycomb, and a prime example is the Tom Robinson case. Tom, a black man, was accused of raping Mayella, a white woman. Atticus puts forward all evidence from his witnesses that clearly proves Tom was innocent, Jem even says, ?and we?re gonna win Scout. I don?t see how we can?t? (pg 206), but Tom still received a ?Guilty? verdict. Atticus tried removing the prejudiced thoughts of the jurors by saying, ??the assumption - the evil assumption - that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings??. (pg 208). Atticus? saying insinuated the point that all of God?s children were created equal. To the jury, the only important thing was that Tom was black and the accuser was white, he never stood a chance under those conditions. These racial tensions between blacks and whites had made their way into the courtroom, a place where everyone should receive a fair trial no matter what race or colour, but an unjust verdict was reached. The prejudice that was felt towards Tom made him lose all hope of freedom, and as a result, he died upon an escape attempt. Tom was victim of racial prejudice and loss of hope.

The novel not only explores racial prejudice, but also prejudice against gender and social status. Maudie is a victim of prejudice against gender as she is a female. In a conversation, Jem asks if Miss Maudie being on the jury, Atticus replies, ?Miss Maudie can?t serve on a jury because she's a woman? (pg 225). This shows that women and men then did not have equal rights. The people of Maycomb believed that cases such as the Tom Robinson?s would be too intense for a woman and would only be fit for a man, as mentioned by Atticus, ?I guess it?s to protect our frail ladies from sordid cases like Tom?s? (pg 225). When Scout wanted to invite Walter Cunningham over for dinner, Aunt Alexandra showed her disapproval. This was a form a prejudice against people of a different social...

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