To Kill A Mockingbird: Theme Analysis

1092 words - 5 pages

Prejudice, a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason nor actual experience, is an exceptionally large dilemma in society today. It is an every day reminder of how uncharitable we, as a human race, can be. Even in the early 1900s, as Harper Lee illustrates in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, prejudiced assumptions have always been causing predicaments. To Kill a Mockingbird, an award winning novel written by Harper Lee, tells the story of how Scout and Jem Finch grows up in a small Southern town suffering through the Great Depression. In To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee expresses the theme of prejudice throughout the majority of her characters. Not only does she have many themes in her novel, but she is also able to incorporate them in many of her characters at once. The theme of prejudice is seen through Atticus Finch and Tom Robinson.
In To Kill a Mockingbird prejudice is subsumed within Atticus Finch, a lawyer and a father of two children, Scout and Jem Finch. Atticus Finch is known by his children as the man who, “'... didn't do anything. He worked in an office, not in a drug store. Atticus did not drive a dump-truck for the county, he was not the sheriff, he did not farm, work in a garage, or do anything that could possibly arouse the admiration of anyone'” (Lee 118). On Saturday, Jem and Scout explores their neighborhood with their air rifles looking for a rabbit or a squirrel to shoot. It is then that Jem notices, “'... there's a mad dog down the street a piece...'” (Lee 123). Old Tim Johnson, the dog of Maycomb, causes panic all over the neighborhood because it is uncommon for a mad dog to appear in February. Once the sheriff, Mr. Heck Tate, accompanied by Atticus, arrives, he asks Atticus to shoot down the dog. In one shot, Atticus refutes the prejudiced thoughts of him as a man who does nothing, bringing a new meaning of Atticus' life to Jem and Scout. Also, the court appoints Atticus Finch to defend Tom Robinson, a married Negro man who is being accused of raping Mayella Ewell. Not many people approve of this, such as Mrs. Dubose, the Finch's neighbor, who complains,”'... what has this world come to when a finch goes against his raising? I'll tell you!... Your father's no better than the niggers and trash he works for'” (Lee 135)! Even his own family is against his decision. “'Grandma says it's bad enough he lets you all run wild, but now he's turned into a nigger-lover we'll never be able to walk the streets of Maycomb again. He's ruinin' the family, that's what he's doin''” (Lee 110), Atticus' nephew, Francis, says to Scout. Most of Maycomb assumes that, since Atticus is defending a black man, he must favor black men over white, while in reality, Atticus chooses to defend Tom Robinson because it is in his nature to be fair to the human race as a whole, black or white. Throughout the novel, the theme of prejudice is constantly shown--- not only in Atticus Finch, but also in Tom Robinson.
In To Kill a Mockingbird prejudice...

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