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What Message Does The Novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, Convey About Prejudice?

1756 words - 7 pages

What Message Does The Novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, Convey About Prejudice?'To Kill a Mockingbird' was set in Alabama during the thirties and wrote the novel in the sixties when Civil Rights Movement was being written. The message of the novel is that people should not be judged according to who/what they are but should be judged on their actions and behaviours. Harper Lee shows prejudice in events like Tom Robinson's trial, also through characters like Arthur (Boo) Radley. Prejudice is also shown in the day to day activities.The novel is titled 'To kill a Mockingbird' because the mockingbird represent innocence. At the beginning of the novel Atticus tells Scout and Jem "Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit `em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird," which illustrates and explains you should not kill innocent beings. Tom Robinson is clearly a mockingbird. He is an untainted person who has in no way pained or harmed anybody and is directly and deliberately shot by society not because of justice but prejudice. The jurors sentence him to death not because he did anything wrong but because of the prejudice. He is then later shot for trying to escape this unjust ruling. So Tom Robinson just like a mockingbird is shot for no reason at all.At the beginning of the novel we are introduced to life in Maycomb, life in Maycomb is small town life where the people are a mainly friendly community and hold high values, such as values of the family. However, most of the people tend to be judgmental and intolerant, excluding other people from the community, such as poor people and the black community. They also tend to categorize each other on the basis of social status as we see when Atticus says "…Maycomb's usual disease. Why reasonable people stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up.." this quotation show how whites hate blacks. The Town of Maycomb was divided into strict social classes, with each bearing animosity towards each one another. Status plays a role in every story. But the status divisions in this story are much defined and influences many happenings in this novel. The social structure is made up of some layers. The relatively well-off Finches stand near the top of Maycomb's social hierarchy, with most of the townspeople beneath them. Ignorant country farmers like the Cunninghams lie below the townspeople, and the white trash Ewells rest below the Cunninghams. But the black community in Maycomb, despite its abundance of admirable qualities such as farming, squats below even the Ewells, enabling Bob Ewell to make up for his own lack of importance by persecuting Tom Robinson. Because of the great differences in the classes blacks were forced to use separate facilities than whites in almost every aspect of society and also allowing them to work in only a few jobs such as being servants.Throughout the novel we are reminded of the way society is divided an example of this is when Aunt Alexandra forbids Scout to...

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