Prejudice is Everywhere “There’s nothing more sickening to me than a low-grade white man who’ll take advantage of a Negro’s ignorance” (Lee 221). Atticus, the narrator’s father in To Kill a Mockingbird, expresses his disgust in the manner of how white men treat the African-American race. This part of the novel is only one example of the prejudices observed in To Kill a Mockingbird, as the novel highlights the issue throughout. Racism was a major issue a large number of men, women, and even children had to face during the time periods of the novels To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Scout, the protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird, is a young girl living in Maycomb, Alabama.
They were dehumanized if they stepped out of line “My husband cousin... they took her tongue out for talking to the clan... You think they gone take our tongues? For talking to you?” (Stockett, 301)- Winnie (A black maid). Black people were denied the right to speak their mind or else they would be tortured or killed. They had to write the novel in secrecy in fear that they would get caught and killed. All the rights of a human being were denied to the black society in which freedom of speech and freedom in society were not
Jem and Scout stats to become aware that all this is caused by segregation. Since Atticus is defending Tom Robinson in court Mrs. Dubose starts to insult Atticus for ‘lawing for *******’ which infuriates both of his children. [Theme: The injustice of racism and segregation] 2. “There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads- they couldn’t be fair if they treid. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s word, the white always wins.
Tom Robinson or your father?’ No answer.” Here is where she had a chance to tell the truth. In the book it hints several times her father Bob Ewell has physically and sexually abused Mayella Ewell. She was given a few chances during her testimony to tell the truth. Her father would have been arrested, Tom Robinson would be found innocent and she wouldn’t have to live in fear of her own family member anymore. Due to her choices, she becomes a perpetrator.
The Montgomery Advertiser is also trying to mock how Atticus is toiling away to represent a defendant, Tom Robinson, who has little to no hope in being freed from the accusations of rape made on him. This is not only an extremely rude gesture, but it is also a sign of prejudice, because they are basing their inferences of the future of the case simply on the fact that Tom Robinson is a Negro, and Negroes are always “the bad guys.” Another case where unjustness is shown is when Lula is spiteful towards Calpurnia for bringing Scout and Jem along to the Negro church. Lula says, “‘I wants to know why you bringin’ white chillun to nigger church’” (Lee 119). Prejudice does not occur only when a white person looks down upon a black person; it happens vice versa as well. Black people may not be allowed to attend the same churches as white people, but that does not mean white people prohibited from black people’s churches simply cancels out the act of prejudice.
“The boy was dead the moment Mayella opened her mouth and screamed. It’s not right, but sometimes we can’t change the minds of white men.” Tom Robinson was innocent and most people know it. Mayella Ewell was obviously coached to lie- she stopped answering questions at one point. Mr. Bob Ewell was a low man who no doubt abused his children. It was obvious that Mr. Ewell beat his daughter, not Tom Robinson.
She had explained to him the difference between colored people and niggers. They were easily identifiable. Colored people were neat and quiet; niggers were dirty and loud" (87.) The family has abandoned their race because of the abuse and shame imposed upon them by the white people and because of this they have come to believe that the white people are superior because of their color, and the shame and hate they feel for themselves is displayed by their emulation of ideal white lifestyle. Although it is well hidden, the misery that Geraldine and her family feel is still present in their lives.
Harriet Jacobs for instance used the thought of someday freeing her children to drive her throughout the book and decide on what is best for them as a whole, maybe not immediately but eventually. She views slavery as worse than death, thus she feels disgusted that she brought her children into the world of slavery, “It seemed to me I would rather see them killed then have them given up to his power.” (Jacob’s 68) Frederick Douglass on the other spectrum of slavery was a man who had no children, and never had to suffer the physiological abuse of rape, and sexual harassment, but this did not make his slavery or his journey to freedom any easier. But it seems as though the small tastes of freedom he had experienced in Baltimore were the driving motives for Frederick Douglass. He always had a desire for more, “The fact that he gave me any part of my wages was proof, to my mind, that he believed me be entitled to the whole of them. I always felt worse for having received anything; for I feared that the giving me a few cents would ease his conscience, and make him feel himself to be a pretty honorable sort of robber” (Douglass 108) It is this ongoing understanding by both characters that they are unique and deserve much more, as in Frederick Douglass’ case these samples of freedom he was given were not taken as a sign of improvement but instead a reminder that he was a man and deserved
It is symbolic for the simple fact that Tom Robinson is just an innocent man trying to live his life. All he ever did was try to be a good, honest person and help Mayella Ewell when she was in need. In return he lost his freedom and his life. All because Mayella Ewell felt the need to cover up the fact that “she kissed a black man” and broke “a rigid and time-honored code of our society, a code so severe that whoever breaks it is hounded from our midst as unfit to live with”(232). Another event compared to killing a mockingbird is Boo Radley and the death of Bob Ewell.
Mayella had a hard, lonely life. She took care of her many brothers and sisters, was mentally, emotionally, and physically abused by her own father, lived in extreme poverty, and was looked down upon by the rest of the town. She looked for acceptance in a black man named Tom Robinson, the only man (or perhaps the only person) that was ever decent to her. When she was found out the guilt of breaking a social barrier so thick caused her to accuse an innocent man of rape. This shows that even though Tom was so good to Mayella, he was black, and even she let her racism get the best of her and took him to court.