How Does Harper Lee Establish the Theme of Prejudice in Part One of to Kill a Mockingbird?

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In part one of her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee establishes extensive prejudice in Maycomb. This can be in the form of racial or social prejudice. In doing so she comments on the fear that drives prejudice and the irrationality that lies at its core. She also comments on how this intolerance is perceived through different characters. The theme of prejudice has been established through the characterisation of the narrator Scout’s father, Atticus and Boo Radley, as well as the narrative perspective of Scout. It is through these elements that Prejudice’s true nature is revealed, setting the scene for Part two. The irrationality and unjust nature of racial prejudice is widely shown through the characterisation of Atticus, Scout’s father. Atticus is an intelligent man, who is widely respected among the community for his education and knowledge as well as his other skills of defence and hunting. Yet a wise man such as Atticus does not fully understand how the citizens of Maycomb can be so irrational and unjust in their prejudiced views of others. This is shown in Part one of Harper Lee’s novel as Atticus tells his brother Jack, ‘Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I will never truly understand.’ Atticus is a great influence on Scout through his actions and words, however he does not force her to act in this way. Atticus has the highest respect for everyone in Maycomb, regardless of gender, age or race. This is shown in his defence for Tom Robinson and his employment and loyalty to Calpurnia. He also demonstrates this when he explains Boo-Radley’s situation and reprimands Scout for treating a boy at her school badly because he was of lower class. Fear that drives prejudice is clearly shown in the case of Boo Radley. This is a form of social prejudice in Maycomb as Boo and his family are all white

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