Unmasking The Mr. Cunningham I Essay

775 words - 3 pages

"I thought [he] was a friend of ours." (Lee 157) The words of Scout Finch in that quote put a worthy question to her father, Atticus. The events that occurred in the second third of the book gave way to many questions of the personalities and beliefs of the people in the little town Maycomb. Their actions seemed to open to changes or prejudices in themselves that caught Scout off-guard. Scout, a young girl of eight years old, was puzzled at the ferocity of people and constantly asked her father about why her familiars acted so unfairly. How was she to know the underlying prejudices of people against Negroes? How could people she had lived with all her life suddenly unmask such an unfair side of their personalities? Mr. Cunningham had been a faithful abiding citizen in Maycomb for as long as Scout could remember, and Atticus had even helped him in a time of need. How was it possible that a man, presumed to be so virtuous, could go to an arrested Negro's jail cell with intentions of hurting the prisoner? Mr. Cunningham is representative of prejudices and personality of the people in Maycomb.Mr. Cunningham appears with a group of men one night at the jail cell of Tom Robinson, a Negro, with malignant intentions. When Atticus places himself between the men and Tom, Mr. Cunningham still stands against him, even though Atticus had served help to him in an emergency and was proved to be a very honorable man. This is similar to cases of everyone else in Maycomb. Other citizens saw Atticus as a man of virtue and respect, yet became overcome by their own prejudices and racist sentiments. Even a man that owed much to Atticus would stand against him for the sake of his personality and upraising. Each citizen, showing disapproval for Atticus's actions, seemed to neglect to weigh the importance of one's virtue, and oneself's opinions. Mr. Cunningham does just this as he appears in the mob that night at Tom Robinson's jail cell. He himself stands against Atticus, even though his past background had never shown any malice towards Atticus, even more so, he had shown gratitude. Prejudices awakened sides of people nobody had predicted, as in Mr. Cunningham. Sometimes, a person's depth cannot be judged by their respect toward...

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