To Kill A Mockingbird, By Harper Lee

1388 words - 6 pages

Hatred: to detest or loathe. How can this textbook definition even begin to describe true hatred? In the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Atticus' idea of prejudice does not define the harsh reality of the hatred that exists in Maycomb County. Atticus believed that if even one person stopped being prejudiced, it would make a big difference. He taught his children to accept everyone for who they are, regardless of race or social standing. As a result, Atticus' misconception of evil became dangerous for him and his children. His misunderstanding of the extreme hatred in Maycomb almost cost him his children's lives.Atticus believes that if even one person reconsiders being prejudice, it will make a difference. In the novel, Atticus' morals and values are very high. He is not racist and treats everybody the same: in a courteous and gentlemanly manner. Atticus gains the respect of some of the people in Maycomb County by acting in such a way. The people in Maycomb showed their appreciation for Atticus's taciturn fight against racism and hatred in many different ways. Atticus was not afraid to defend Tom Robinson to his full extent, he believed every person had the right to a fair trial and believed Tom's innocence, even though he was black. As expected, Atticus did not win the case, but gained the respect of the black community. They were very happy that for once somebody was listening and sticking up for them. They showed their respect in a very open way: As a sign of respect and a thank you, the black community gave Atticus a great deal of food. "Atticus's eyes filled with tears. He did not speak for a moment. 'Tell them I'm very grateful', he said. 'Tell them-tell them they must never do this again. Times are too hard...'"(213). He was very taken aback by this. Even though he had only done a little bit to help, the black community helped Atticus realize that what he had done had been worthwhile. Another person in the novel who appreciated Atticus' work was Ms. Maudie. She showed her appreciation by talking to Jem and Scout about how proud she was of him. "'...Atticus Finch won't win, he can't win, but he's the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that'"(216). Ms. Maudie also recognized Atticus' baby-step towards defeating some of the injustice that exists in Maycomb. She gained even more respect for Atticus because of the way that he made the jury realize that Tom was an individual, not just a "nigger". Even though a great deal of the town appreciated what Atticus did, a large portion was resentful towards him. Many children at school taunted Scout and Jem, saying that their dad was a "nigger lover". Even in Atticus' own family there was resentment towards him; Aunt Alexander did not think it was appropriate for him to be defending Tom Robinson. Through all this outward resentment of the town towards Atticus, a strange thing happened. "...people were content to re-elect him to the state legislature that...

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