To Kill a Mockingbird Essay

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To Kill A Mockingbird By: Harper lee Essay By: Elizabeth Mabe Harper lee’s novel to kill a mockingbird was published in the 1960’s, when the civil rights movement was growing and striving to attain equal rights for African-Americans. During this period, racial segregation and discrimination were commonplace throughout the United States, particularly in the southern states. Although civil rights activity was widespread when Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee chose instead to set the novel during the 1930s in Maycomb, Alabama. Some commentators, such as Tamara Castleman, suggest that Lee chose the 1930s to demonstrate that the civil rights movement was a gradual development that ‘had a long history of making ‘baby step’’. Although racially motivated organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan were being resisted in the 1930s, racism was still rampant throughout the Southern states. It is not surprising therefore, that Lee’s novelexposes various forms of racism and prejudice that were prevalent at the time. Some reviewers have suggested however, that racial prejudice is not a significant theme in the novel. This position is premised on the fact that Lee dedicates only a small portion of the novel to the trial of Tom Robinson, an innocent black man convicted by an all-white jury of raping a white woman. This viewpoint suggests that the theme of racism only emerges in the novel after Tom Robinson is accused of rape. However, as Diann L. Baecker notes in her article, ‘Telling It in Black and White: The Importance of the Africanist Presence in To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘there is no one-to-one correspondence between a theme’s importance and the number of words devoted to it’. Nevertheless, these reviewers maintain that the racial themes of the novel have taken precedence over more dominant themes such as the mockingbird metaphor,

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