Breaking the Norms of Society in To Kill a Mockingbird In the 1930’s, events in “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee take place with a very different society from the ones we live in presently. With sexism being the law and innocence being seen last while background comes first, leading to many problems such as breaking social norms. Maycomb follows a rule that labels individuals of the same background in life and ethnicity together. Each group is expected to act a certain way, if an individual does not, it is considered breaking the norms of society which links to an outcome of an automatic consequence. With the superiority of racism, it results as the countless reason for it.
Even though he is innocent, because he is black, there is almost no chance he will win. As Atticus says, "In our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins" (Lee 249). Tom has a right to justice too, but society thinks he does not deserve it because he is different. Next is the Finch family. They are not black and are well respected by the community, until Atticus is assigned to defend Tom.
Therefore, the black community in Maycomb was crippled with fear. A fear that they will get lynched for a crime they did not commit. Stereotyping is a human instinct. We will always stereotype people's race, class and families. When Aunt Alexandra lived with the Finches, she said this to Scout about the Cunninghams, "Because he is trash, that's why you cant play with him.
Although the end of the American civil war marked the end of slavery for African Americans, it did not mark their acceptance and equality with white people. Many southern states resented losing their slaves and were determined to keep African Americans as second class citizens. In 1950 segregation was in full force, meaning African Americans had separate churches, public transport, theatres, schools, hotels, swimming pools and many other facilities to white people. Segregation also applied to where people lived, so African Americans could only live in certain areas separate from white people, with these areas being much worse than the white suburbs, despite the separate but equal principle. Even when this was challenged in the Plessy vs Ferguson Supreme Court case the separate but equal principle was found to be constitutional.
As King stated “I just happened to be here” This suggests that even without King’s Existence and role, the NAACP succeeded in bringing equality to the black community. That being said, this proves they would have received the same success without the supposed exigency of King, as what Jo Ann Robinson said “it’s not the preachers show, it’s the people.” Therefore, it would be debatable whether King’s significance in bringing equality
The fact that there were enough white men to arrange a northern army without any black people can be irritating but don’t forget that a huge anti-slavery movement already existed. So it’s possible to say that this decision was more a political considerateness than credo. During the war this general opinion changed a lot. Many black soldiers showed what they’re able to do. Supervisor of coloured regiments started to respect the black people.
The Second World War was a turning point for African Americans in the struggle for civil rights because they gained respect from most whites, but only to a certain extent. It helped them to get the vote, but outside the southern states suffered from de facto segregation, Southern states suffered from De Jero segregation and Jim Crow Laws, but they started to gain respect from some whites. The Second World War was a turning point for African Americans as it showed equality, however, voting rights did not necessarily result in the number of black votes within a constituency boundary. In 1945, there were only two black members of Congress, Representative William Dawson from Chicago, and Adam Clayton Powell, who had been elected to Congress in 1944 because newly drawn constituency boundaries ensured that Harlem’s quarter of a million blacks would be able to elect a black man to the House of Representatives. So, even though they took a step forward in equality outside of the south, it didn’t really help that much as they couldn’t do much with the vote because of the attitudes shown towards blacks from whites.
As the reader begins to see the unfairness of the actions against black people, mostly because of Atticus’ speech, the theme of discrimination is developed through the motive of ‘walking around in their shoes.’ The title, To Kill A Mockingbird is very symbolic and meaningful. The quote which corresponds with the title is also said by Atticus and is, ‘Shoot all the blue jays you want if you can’t hit ‘em, but it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’ There are two characters in the text which are metaphorical to the mockingbird. One is the obvious one, Tom Robinson, a black man accused of the rape of a white girl, whom Atticus defends, and the other is Boo Radley. Just like a mockingbird, Tom Robinson only did good and in the end was accused of a crime he didn’t commit. He helped Mayella Ewell every time she asked, for free, and for it he was accused of raping her.
In the South however, the blacks were disfranchised, since the state governments introduced literacy tests, tests on the knowledge of constitution and Poll taxes, which African Americans had trouble with, because of poor education and financial problems. Both created through discrimination and racism. Racial hatred groups such as the Ku Klux Klan still existed. They advertised violent treatment of African Americans, and often engaged in violent activities themselves. Blacks were often beaten or killed by members of such hate groups.
All over the south racism was still going on. But this time it was going on illegally. There were riots in the north in places like Chicago, Detroit and New York. The white race had been angered at the ‘preferential treatment afforded to African Americans.’ Although there were riots against the well being for black people there were other groups who protested for black people. The Double V campaigned for hypocrisy of the discrimination in America and the segregated lines.