To Kill a Mockingbird, Southern Depression Era Race-Relations
By Rocky Wagner
To Kill A Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee, which mainly deals with race relations in a small southern town during the Great Depression. It was published in 1960 and has since won the Pulitzer Prize, been adapted into a multi award winning film (three Academy Awards and three Golden Globes), and become one of the classics of modern American fiction. I chose the topic of race relations rather than gender roles or classism because although those topics are very important, I believe that racism was at the time the largest problem (as it is today), and it matters the most to me. In the book, racism is by far the most predominant issue, making it easier for me to write about. The main attitude towards African Americans at the time (or what I can infer through the writing) is that they weren’t even people. They are thought to be inferior beings and always obey with the white people in the book. They are talked about/to like idiots, if even humans, and are always referred to by white people as “niggers”.
First, “Reverend Sykes came puffing behind us, and steered us gently through the black people in the balcony. Four Negroes rose and gave us their front-row seats” (Lee 164). This quote shows several things. First, the balcony of which they are speaking is the “colored balcony”; this is an example of segregation, the law that gave blacks and whites separate public places. Secondly, and more arguably more importantly, the black people just abandon the front row seats, which they waited very long for. They hadn’t even been asked to move, but they knew that the white people would get the seats because they were considered to be a better race. It shows that the laws had broken these people down so much, and made them so ashamed, that they simply left their spots.
Second, “I guess it ain’t your fault if Uncle Atticus is a nigger...